A/N: I do not own the Matched Trilogy, I'm just playing with the characters and plot because I like Xander more than Ky.

Set in the middle of Xander and Cassia's date in the beginning of Crossed, right after she makes the deal with the archivist and set as they're leaving the museum.


Xander's POV

I looked over at this girl I love so much. Even before our Matching Banquet, I knew that I loved her. It was against what I knew was right. I knew I would be Matched someday and I would love her, whoever it happened to be, and that would be that. But Cassia and I, we'd always had something special between us. When we were Matched, it was like everything in my world fell into place. I was Matched with my best friend, the girl I'd been in love with since we were kids at the pool together. Life couldn't get any better.

Things started to shift between us. At first, I thought she was just a little unsure how to act around me now that our feelings for each other were sanctioned by the Society. We could really be together now, and, yeah, that's a little scary. It changed the entire dynamic of our relationship. But I was happy with it. Eventually it became clear to me that it wasn't the change that had her questioning herself. It was Ky.

Ky Markham. I could never quite figure him out. He was an Aberration from the outer provinces who chose to fly under the radar even though he was clearly smarter than he appeared, and he didn't want to join the rebellion. What do you make of that? Everything about him should have steered him toward the Rising, but it didn't. Now, he was interested in my girl, and, not only that, but he had her convinced that she wanted him too.

That's where we stand now. I love her and I know she loves me. But that "too" that she tacks on the end of it, I'm not sure how a heart can love after it's been broken, but somehow mine does. I would do anything for her. I will even give her up if I have to, but seeing her go through all these risks just to get to Markham, it's killing me. But I gave her the blue tablets; they'll help to keep her safe if she really goes through with this. I'm going to do everything I can tonight to convince her to stop this, though. Any way I can to keep her safe, with me.

All of this runs through my head as we start to leave the museum, if you can call it that, but it served its purpose to Cassia. She made a trade and seems satisfied.

"So, what happens now?" I ask her softly enough so our official can't hear us.

"What do you mean?" She was so lost in thought that my voice seems to startle her.

"What happens now with your plan and your decision you made back in Oria? Cassia, we both understand how dangerous this is. We also both know that you love me and that I love you. We have our work assignments in Central, we can go there and be together until we're old enough to be married, Cassia, we can have this life. Everything can fit together." In my excitement, my voice rose a little, but the official just smiles at us. She probably just thinks we're talking about our future and we're both excited that Cassia is almost done with her "punishment." She has no idea how serious this conversation actually is.

"Xander, I do love you. I hate telling you this, but I also love him. I have to try to find him." She won't meet my eyes when she says this. I want to see her eyes; I've been without them except for her picture for so long. It's just not the same.

I tilt her chin up so that I can look her squarely in the eyes when I speak my next words. "Tell me that the future we can have together isn't promising to you. Look me in the eyes and tell me, honestly, that you don't want to live together, a happy life with me, your best friend. The guy you've known your whole life. The guy who loves you, always has and always will. We can grow old together and watch our kids grow. We both have promising jobs to look forward to and full lives to live. We can have that. Together, we can have that life. Can you tell me you don't want that?"

"I can't tell you that I don't want that. It all sounds so great. But what about Ky? I can't just leave that behind…" She leans into me and hides her head in my chest. She's confused, and rightly so. The Society did this to her. They messed with her microcard and put this idea that she loves him in her head. I don't know, maybe she does. But I'm her Match. The Society has its faults, lots of them, which I plan to help eradicate as part of the Rebellion, but in this one instance, I think they got it right. I can't imagine being Matched to anyone else.

I put my arms around her and just hold her close while she tries to stop sobbing. Our official looks slightly concerned. I jerk my head a little to the left, hoping the Official will take the hint and leave us with a little privacy. She does and walks out the door leaving us alone in the lobby of the museum.

I have to tell Cassia about the Rebellion and about Ky not joining it. She's giving in to what I'm telling her. When she left Oria, she was as dead set on finding Ky; I've planted the seed of doubt, of another option. Now I just have to help her see that it's the right choice.

"Cassia, I know you know about the Rebellion, from Ky. Before we talk any more about our future, there are a couple things you should know. A few months ago, some members of the Rebellion talked to me. You know that they're recruiting for members inside Society too?" Her look tells me that this is new information. "Well, they are. I've joined up. I talked to Ky about it a few days later and, he didn't. I can't figure out why he didn't."

"That can't be true! I know it's not! He would have joined them if he had been contacted, maybe they just didn't, maybe he's already joined from when he lived in the Outer Provinces. Maybe- "

I cut her off with a finger to her lips, she was getting awfully loud. I don't want the Official to come check on us. "Cassia, no, he and I talked about it. I didn't get an answer why, but I know that he doesn't want to be a part of the Rebellion. Please, you know that the two of us could each rise in our positions in Society and really do some good for the Rebellion. We could really make a difference."

I'm hoping some of this sinks in. The look in her eyes tells me she's trying to come up with a reason he wouldn't have joined. Maybe she knows him better and will have better luck finding that answer than I did. From the defeated look morphing onto her features, I'm guessing that's a no.

"Xander, I know we could. I just can't stop thinking about him." She conflicted. I think she's actually leaning toward my side. Choosing me.

"Cassia, if I thought, for one second, that you would have a better life with him, I would tell you to find him, Matching or no. The truth is that I don't see how you could ever be safe with him. He would try to keep you safe, but if he can't stay in Society and he won't join the Rebellion… I can't stand the thought of you having that life." It's true. I would let her go if I thought she could be happy and safe with him. I can't see the safety part coming.

"Cassia, I'm begging you. Choose me. Choose safety. Choose love and happiness. Choose a chance to make a difference. Think of Bram and your parents. I'm the one that can give you the life you want. Don't slip quietly away with him beyond the Outer Provinces, never to be heard from again." Something changes in her eyes as I say the last line. Determination and a trace of sadness. I've known this girl my whole life and I can read her like a book, usually. I think I've convinced her.

"Okay." She says, so quietly I'm not sure if I imagined it.

"What?" I'm trying to keep my face from breaking into a smile.

"I said, 'okay.' I'll go with you. When I'm done at my last work assignment, I'll come find you, in Central." She said yes! I pick her up and spin her around while she laughs. When I put her down, I can't help myself, I kiss her with everything I have. I know she'll always love him too, but she loves me. She chose me.

"I love you, Cassia Reyes."

"I love you too, Xander Carrow."

We've got a long road ahead of us, but if Cassia's going to be by my side, I feel like I can take on the whole Society myself.


A/N: When he says to not slip away quietly, I'm saying that it reminds her of the poem, with "do not go quietly" which is what finally completely changes her mind.

I hope you enjoyed it!