Xander Harris sometimes hated his friends. It would only be for a few moments until he remembered that it wasn't their faults that his life sucked.

It wasn't as noticeable in high school. Sure, his parents yelled more than theirs and he couldn't really afford to always go out when they did, but in high school at least they were all on pretty level ground. Of course, in high school he still had hopes.

Then came college. He smiled and helped the girls packed their things and then drove them over to the dorms where he then helped unload as well. He joked and grinned that dopey grin of his like he had been doing for years and told himself he didn't care that they were too oblivious to see how fake it all was.

While the girls unpacked and chatting happily about classes, he left with a joke and returned to his parents' house. Weeks passed and the closeness he once had with his friends soon faded as they were immersed in a world of exams, parties, sports games; a world he didn't belong in. He stopped contributing to the conversations, not knowing how to comment about a professor he had never met or a class he would never get to take.

Eventually it became easier to make excuses to skip their lunch dates or movies nights. He got into a routine of driving back and forth from work to home then back to work again. Time spent at home consisted of the shedding of the blue vest/paper hat/grease-stained apron and collapsing onto the couch to watch reruns and drink cheap beers or eat bland junk food while trying not to think about what his friends were doing that night.

He lost jobs faster than he could find them, regardless of how hard he worked. He found himself cringing even when it was only a fictional character on television that got into the college and turned the channel to something that didn't remind him of how pathetic he had become.

Still he showed up to every Scooby research meeting and every night of patrol bearing the doughnuts and coffee like the helpful Zeppo he was.

He slowly became numb to the idea that this was the rest of his life.

Until the night that things slowly began to change.