Disclaimer: Don't own it! If I did, I would be making money. /opens wallet and moths fly out/ No money. No ownie.
The Harris Home
Between November 10-17, 1997
Alexander 'Xander' LaVelle Harris was sitting in his parent's basement on his bed, his legs crossed underneath him and a multitude of metal pieces, pipes, and springs laid out in front of him. He stared at them for a moment then rubbed a hand along the side of his face, closing his eyes.
He then picked up one metal piece and hefted in his hand for a moment before he started collecting others in the pile. In a matter of minutes the 9 millimeter Glock was back together and he stared at it as though it where a bomb about to explode.
"Crap," he repeated.
It was a matter of weeks since the incident at Halloween with Ethan Rayne and his precious chaos magic. And after having nearly taken off his mother's head when she'd drunkenly stumbled into his back after he'd snuck in from a patrol with Buffy, he had become a tad bit suspicious. When he'd managed to sneak into the local military base and steal the Glock as well as a tactical shotgun that was currently stored under his bed alongside a small submachine gun, he'd gotten worried. Now that he had taken apart the Glock and put it back together perfectly for the fifth time in an hour, he was downright terrified.
Well, not completely terrified. It was kinda cool to think that some of the soldier he'd been possessed by over Halloween had been left over. Though it reminded him of the piece of the hyena pack leader that had been left behind and then it became the kind of cool that's not.
Xander sighed and laid the Glock down on his bed, pressed his elbows against his knees, and leaned on his forearms with chin cupped in both hands. Brown eyes stared at the gun sitting in front of him for a long moment then he closed his eyes, shaking his head.
At least this time the weird things happening to him weren't horrendously life changing. Now when he was nine and the Event had happened…now that was horrendously life changing. Not like finding out Buffy was the Slayer and then having to kill his best friend besides Willow but in the same category.
Absently he reached out and picked up the gun, wondering where he could go to test his shooting skills. Nowhere nearby was applicable and the only person he knew to go to to learn to use a gun was in Chicago. And was likely working his ass off, as usual.
Sighing, he fell back onto his bed then rolled over to stuff the Glock into a box under his bed when the basement door opened. He continued the roll off the bed, landing lightly, and blinked when his mother came down the stairs. For one of the first times that he could recall, she looked perfectly sober – and the strain from it was evident on her face.
"This came for you," she said shortly, extending her arm towards him. An envelope was held in her fist and he looked at it for a moment before taking it.
"Uh, thanks, Mom."
Jessica Harris just nodded and turned to go back upstairs, likely going to start getting very unsober with a bottle of Jack Daniels. Xander frowned and looked down at the letter, reading the sole address on the front. His eyes widened and he called out to his mother just as she reached the door.
She turned and looked at him, one hand on the doorknob.
"What is it?"
"How'd this get here? There's no return address, so it couldn't have come in the mail. Especially not since it's Sunday." Xander paled then and stammered, "Its…its…"
Jessica nodded and said solemnly, "Its from them. Your father just got rid of the beast that brought it." With that she disappeared into the house, leaving Xander alone in his basement bedroom. He stared at the closed door for a moment before staggering back over to his bed and hurriedly sitting down.
The envelope in his hands worried him. It had been five years since he'd gotten a letter like this and he'd turned them down then. What they'd want with him now that he was seventeen and years too old for what they had originally asked, escaped him.
With shaking hands, he opened the envelope and pulled out the piece of parchment inside, carefully unfolding it.
Alexander LaVelle Harris,
You have been summoned by Attorney Gray Lancaster on behalf of one Severus Alexander Snape for his trial concerning the murder of one Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, former Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The trial is set for January 14 of the year 1998 at the Ministry of Magic Headquarters in Diagon Alley located in London, England.
If you do not have the means to come, contact one Rupert Giles. He has been informed that you may seek his aid and will be able to make sure you arrive safely for the trial.
Gray LancasterAttorney at Law
Xander blinked down at the letter for a moment, letting the words settle in. Then he leapt to his feet in shock as he realized what the heck was going on.
"Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit…Giles knows! Giles knows that I'm…crap…and Uncle Sev is on trial and…and…oh God."
He sank back down onto his bed and buried his head in his hands, the letter crinkling against his scalp. Just as he was starting to get a hold of himself again, there was a knock against his door.
"Alex?" he heard his mother call. "There's a man on the phone for you."
"Uh…" Xander sighed and tossed the letter onto his bed, standing up once again. He had to practically force himself to leave the basement and enter the house above – and not only because he knew instinctively that it was Giles on the phone. His parents home smelt of too much booze and cigarettes for his nose, which had become a hell of a lot more sensitive since his hyena possession. "Where's the phone?"
Jessica pointed towards the doorway into the kitchen and Xander walked in to find the cordless phone sitting on the counter. He gingerly picked it up and held it to his ear, saying, "Hey, G-man."
There was a pause at the other end of the line then Giles said, "I won't even bother asking how you knew I was calling."
He could practically see Giles cleaning his glasses in his mind's eye and Xander winced as the man spoke.
"Indeed," said the librarian in clipped tones. "Now…would you mind telling me why I just got a letter from the British Ministry of Magic informing me that you need transport to England to take part in a captured felon's trial?"
"Can we not talk about it over the phone?" asked Xander, glancing over at his shoulder towards his mother. She was sitting on the threadbare couch watching a rather sappy old movie with a bottle of Jack on the table beside her and a full shot glass in her hand. He really didn't want to have this conversation near her or his father as neither looked very highly on the fact that he was by technical means a wizard. "Or anywhere near my house?"
Giles was silent for a moment then said, "I'll come pick you up."
"Yes," said Giles shortly and then the line went dead. Xander pulled the phone away from his ear and looked at it numbly for a moment before turning it off and placing it back on the counter. He then crept back down into his room and grabbed a ragged blue-jean jacket off the back of a chair. A stake, a bottle of holy water, and a small silver cross were tucked into various inside pockets of the coat then he bent and pulled the box out from under his bed. He dug out the Glock and turned the safety on before sliding a loaded clip into it and slipping another into the pocket with the stake. The gun was stuffed into the back of his jeans as he shoved the box back under his bed with a foot and mounted the stairs into the house again.
As he walked outside towards Giles' rusted Citroen, he wondered how his life could get any worse. When he entered the car and the librarian drove off, he discovered how much worse it could be.
"Are you trained?" asked Giles as he drove, his eyes focused on the road in front of him. Xander winced at the tone of man he looked up to as a father figure and shook his head.
"No," he replied softly. "Got an offer but turned it down. Wills and Jess needed me here, not a coupl'a states away at a school learning magic."
Giles frowned and they rode in silence for a moment before he spoke again.
"What's your relation to Severus?"
"You know him?"
"He was a first year when I was in sixth," replied Giles softly, almost reminiscently. His voice gained steel as he asked again, "What is your relation to him?"
Xander looked at the librarian then turned towards the window.
"He's my uncle," he replied after a moment. "Him and my dad, they're half brothers. Grandfather Harris apparently had a relationship with Uncle Sev's mom when he was in England and nine months later came Dad. She left him with Granddad and just vanished, not leaving a trace behind. Dad didn't even know till Uncle Sev contacted us when I was about seven."
"Severus contacted you?"
"Despite the reputation he tries to uphold as downright bastard, he's a good guy," said Xander, his mouth twisted into a sneer oddly reminiscent of his uncle. "He used to visit every once in a while but that stopped once the war heated up. Hell, he stopped writing around then too." The teenager frowned and muttered, "Guess that was because of this mess he seems to have dropped himself into."
The librarian snorted as he stopped for a red light and said, "It is a bit more than a simple mess, Xander. He killed Albus Dumbledore with an Avada Kedavra right in front of Harry Potter."
Brown eyes flashed and something in them seemed to snap.
"I don't give a flying fuck about what he did!" snarled Xander viciously. "He's my uncle, my blood. And even though Mom and Dad are no prize and most wouldn't consider him much of one either, he's the only person that's ever really given a rat's ass about me excepting my cousin. I'm not saying killing someone is a good thing but I get the distinct feeling that we don't have all the pieces of the puzzle here!"
"Lives in Chicago and works most of the time so I don't get to talk to him much. And he's got nothing to do with this conversation."
Giles sighed and looked out the windshield for a moment at the road. He then spoke again in a gentle voice.
"I'm sorry for snapping at you," he apologized. "It's just…it's been a long time since I've heard anything about Severus."
"No prob, G-man," said Xander with a shake of his head. He frowned as he added, "I'm just as worried about him as you are."
"Severus can take care of himself. We both know that."
"Against Voldemort and a school full of magical kiddies," spat the teenager. "Not up against a self-righteous Ministry and the death of a man that left too many questions unanswered. I'm fairly certain they had this planned."
Giles turned to stare at him in shock and nearly plowed into the back end of a pickup truck. After swerving around it, he pulled into an empty lot and turned off the Citroen's engine.
"Are you suggesting," he said as he looked at his passenger, "that Dumbledore planned his own death?"
Xander nodded in response and Giles asked, "Why?"
"First off, Moldywart's didn't trust Uncle Sev with much after he went back to his spying. And what better way to get back into the crazy dude's good graces than to kill the leader of the opposition?"
"What's your second point?"
"Force the Potter kid into growing up real fast. Also rescuing the godkid, though that was probably all Uncle Sev's gig, not the old man's."
The librarian frowned for a moment then asked, "How did you know about Draco?"
Xander rolled his eyes in response to that.
"Puh-lease," he drawled. "I'm Uncle Sev's personal confidant – y'know, what with the fact that probably only three people connected to the magical world know I exist and am related to him. The Hellmouth screws with the vibes, y'know. And anyone else connected to that hip place think I'm just a snappy Muggleborn. Heh. Think they'd be pissing themselves to know they had a nice chat with the happy murderer's nephew?"
"Cut back on the sarcasm just a hair," suggested Giles. "You're starting to lay it on a mite thick."
The teenager winced and said, "Sorry. Stress makes me incessantly sarcastic. I've had a bit too much of it today."
"Did something else happen?"
"Eh, nothing to worry about, G-man. I've got it all under control."
Giles looked skeptical at this then shrugged and started up the Citroen again, moving it back into traffic. As they continued the drive towards his home, he said, "You do realize I'll be coming with you to England, correct?"
Xander grinned in response to that and said, "And how else would I get around the merry old land of tweed?"
The librarian grumbled something about children not respecting their elders these days to which Xander shot a raspberry in response. A scolding followed it, which resolved into the two of them having an argument about whether to fly or taking wizarding travel and what to tell Buffy and Willow and the oily wretch that was Snyder whilst trading tales about the deeds of one Severus Snape.
And for a little while they managed to forget that they were going to England because of said wizard's murder charge.Author's Note
I'm using the correct Harry Potter dates (via the HP Lexicon) and the airdates of Buffy (in a vague manner) as my references for time in this fic. In the Buffyverse, this is after The Dark Age and before What's My Line, Part One in season 2. In the HPverse, it's book seven timeline and things with Voldemort are coming to a head.