Title: Xander's Green-Eyed Obsession
Fandom: Harry Potter, BtVS
A/N: Okay, so I'm a weak review slut. I was planning on waiting until Wednesday to post this (just beta-ed this morning), but here it is! Delivered as promised! This is the chapter that I believe you've all been waiting for. Word of warning: it's a cliffhanger and contains my second attempt at writing action. Enjoy!
A week had passed since the Scoobies had ventured out to The Bronze. Oz had skipped town following the disaster show that was Veruca and Willow was out of sorts because he was gone. Misery, thy name is Hellmouth. Xander refrained from sighing as Buffy interrupted his fun with Giles moment.
"I live in a dorm now. The girls in my hall want to party. Willow needs cheering up. I'm going to take her." Buffy looked slightly gleeful at the idea of shirking her Slayer duties to check out dating prospects.
"And going to a frat shindig full of strangers making out is supposed to do some cheering?" Xander frowned at Buffy's sudden conjecture that he had nothing better to do that evening but to do her patrol for her. "Slight problem: I've got a date tonight. Harry and I are going bowling. But if babysitting Willow is the big haps, I could ask Harry to let her tag along. He's never been bowling before, should be interesting."
Buffy frowned at Xander's proposal. "If baby Brit is still in town, what are you doing here?"
"Job interviews," Xander answered, knowing that she was fishing for disharmony. "Had one earlier, next one is in an hour."
"Still haven't answered the why aspect." Buffy half-tapped her foot, smirking.
Xander quirked a brow. "If you must know, just before I left for the first interview some guy showed up who would be a shoo in in a mini-Spike lookalike contest and win a Queen Bee tournament versus Cordelia." Buffy and Giles both froze, presumably to picture such a combination. "Draco Malfoy, unless I missed my guess."
"Aren't you the least bit concerned about your boyfriend alone with a guy he admits he's kissed?" Buffy quizzed.
"Nope," Xander grinned. "Zilch on the chemistry scale. 'Sides it was mistletoe induced; doesn't count."
Willow didn't regret going with Xander on his bowling date, it had been such a long time since she had seen him so very relaxed and happy. Harry appeared to genuinely care about Xander as well. She was still uncertain as to when her relationship with Xander had broken to the point that she hadn't seen this drifting unknowingness, or the possibility that he might be gay. One thing she did know: she and Buffy had better patch things, because if it came down to them versus Harry? It was so not in their favor.
After the date (Harry somehow managed to score a cool 175 in the third game beginner's luck), Willow had returned to the dorm. She needed thinking time, even if it was still early. She didn't know what she was going to do about Oz and his accidental act of homicide but Spike's sudden reappearance later that night certainly didn't help reassure Willow that the universe wasn't trying to dump all sorts of tragic on her in one fell swoop. His inability to bite? That actually cheered her up. Especially his admittance to wanting to bite her previously, although there was an ick factor the following morning.
But it was Monday now and the holiday curve balls were a coming. The early morning air was quite pleasant as she stood outside watching the groundbreaking ceremony with Buffy. For some god-awful reason Anya was there too. Trampy un-demon. Leave town already.
"Look at him. Have you seen anything so masculine?" Anya sighed out, breaking up the droll speech of the dean.
"Dean Guerrero or his wife?" Buffy responded. Sometimes Willow wondered how Buffy managed to make it through any of her college classes, or her patrols, intact.
"I think she means," Willow laughed, pointed at Xander stretching as he waited for the go-ahead on the project.
"Oh. Very manly. Not at all Village People." Willow admired the fact Buffy could say all that with a straight face.
"So much sexier than the outfit from his last job," Anya commented. Quit drooling Anya. That ship? It's sailed.
The commencement speeches were wrapping up as Harry arrived at the barren campus lot. Stepping up to the cordoned off area that denoted the construction site, he wasn't sure what to think when he heard the awkward brunette boldly state "I love a ritual sacrifice." I must be hearing things.
"It's not really one of those," Buffy sounded off, sounding just as off-kilter as Harry felt. Perhaps not.
"To commemorate a past event you kill and eat an animal," Anya spoke matter-of-factly. "It's a ritual sacrifice, with pie."
Harry couldn't help it, he laughed, startling all three females. "Very Dark Ages of you." The trio turned to follow him as he moved closer to the safety cones. Canting himself to view both the girls and Xander, Harry smirked, "Hi."
Anya retreated from her previous position, looking leery of being near the green-eyed male. "Hi," she responded, almost meek in comparison to her previous tone.
"Oh, Anya, meet Harry, Xander's boyfriend," Willow gleefully exclaimed as a minor staring contest began.
Anya's facial features twitched minutely as the sound of light applause sounded from the nearby ceremony audience. "We've met. Oh," she half-sighed, staring across the lot. "Soon he'll be sweating. I'm imagining having sex with him again."
Harry frowned, turning to fully face the ex-demon. "Do the words delusional and too much information mean anything to you?" A round of gasps and a gut-wrenching feeling had Harry swiveling around, and sprinting straight into the construction zone. "Xander!" A pair of Xander's fellow workers forced Harry to halt a couple yards shy of the gaping hole in the ground.
"Xander!" A coughing, half-choked "I'm okay!" calmed Harry's wildly beating heart. Taking a deep breath, he stepped back shrugging out of restraining arms. It was as he stood still, calming his racing heart, that he saw it. A slight shimmer in the air escaped from the gaping maw the earth had just created. Lovely.
"Buffy," Willow sighed, exasperated as she rose up from her dorm bed. "Earlier you agreed with me about Thanksgiving. It's a sham. It's all about death."
"It is a sham," Buffy heartily agreed, shamefully shuffling her feet on the carpeted floor. "But it's a sham with yams. It's a yam sham!"
Willow laughed. "You can jokey-rhyme all you want but if you really want to do this, you realize Harry will be coming with Xander. Don't think you can get around that."
"Do we have to invite him?" Buffy grumbled, flopping back on her bed.
Willow shook her head. "Buffy, you have to be reasonable. We've accepted your boyfriends on less. Might even be able to have him host," she chirruped slightly. Willow hoped the idea of not taking part in any measure of clean-up would make the new boy more attractive to Buffy.
"He can make rolls," she huffed.
I tried. Willow sighed once more, giving up the futile endeavor.
The day of celebration arrived in true Hellmouth fashion: a couple deaths, an impending third. Nonetheless, it didn't dissuade the Slayer from wanting a perfect Thanksgiving feast. A knock sounded at Giles' front door.
Arguments halted as Buffy responded, Willow and Giles tranquilly trailing behind. Xander sniffled slightly as the door opened, "Happy Thanksgiving." His construction job had released at midday to allow for holiday celebration. Anya had trailed him from the site. Must love stalker-types, he thought sarcastically.
"You didn't bring rolls?" Buffy chimed in a hurt fashion. Xander rolled his eyes, presenting a large canvas bag filled to the brim with fresh baked dinner rolls. Squealing, she jumped forward, inflicting a friction burn on Xander's hand in her haste to gain possession of the bag. Peering in, she commented, in shock, "Don't need this many."
"We've been over this," Xander chided, pushing silently past the Slayer to enter the apartment. "Harry: frustrated, equals baking frenzy. I can't tell if he's more upset about not being allowed to truly assist or not being offered the opportunity to host." Xander groaned as he settled into the armchair, grateful to be off his feet. He'd been feeling a bit buggy since the pitfall but it wasn't any worse than an early cold.
"What's she doing here?" Willow pointed at Anya, lingering a few steps into the entry hall.
Xander, unable to help himself, responded, "She followed me home. Can I keep her?" Everyone turned to Anya, wondering at her reaction.
Anya frowned. "I don't understand."
Willow chuckled. "Kinda depends on your boyfriend, doesn't it Xander?"
"In that case, it'll never happen." Straightening slightly, Xander addressed Anya head on. "Sorry Anya, Harry is pleasantly possessive. No room at the inn. You'll have to find someone else to adopt you." Now please accept that I am not one to be stalked, thank you.
Glaring, Anya pouted as she turned to leave. "Fine, then I won't tell you what I know about your so-called boyfriend."
"Anya wait!" Buffy called, a manically gleeful expression on her face. "We're having Thanksgiving dinner in a few hours. You can stay if you share."
Anya turned back, staring shrewdly at the blonde. "Promise?"
"I swear by my slayee powers." Buffy made a great show of writing an air-cross over her heart. Xander glared at the Slayer, wondering what she was hoping to accomplish with her little game.
Still looking quite skeptical, Anya settled herself on the couch, Buffy perching on the end. Impatient, Buffy prodded, "So? Spill."
"Xander's new friend: he's a wizard." Everyone blinked.
Giles coughed, a scoff barely buried in the noise. "That's quite impossible Anya. Wizards died out, roughly a thousand years ago. It's quite clearly written in 'Wizards, Witches, and Warlocks'."
"I remember that moldy oldie," Xander chirped out. "Right after Wicca: The Wicked Witchy Way." He grinned at the manufactured title.
Giles's face turned a sickly shade of gray, his eyes closing as he pulled his glasses away to clean them. "Thank you, Xander, for that wildly inappropriate comment." Willow snickered into her stack of books on the Chumach Indians.
"Be that way," Anya gritted out. "My information comes from an impeccable source and mark my words, Harry—is a wizard."
Clearing her throat, Buffy turned her attention to Xander. "Speaking of Harry, when's he showing up?"
"He had a scheduled phone call with his godson so he'll be here in time for dinner. He's bringing by dessert as well." Xander smiled, ruminating on what Harry and Teddy together would look like. I bet Harry would be a great father. A rumbling cough broke Xander from his musing. "Got anything to drink, Giles?"
The darkened greenery flashed by as a trio of bikes sailed across the college campus grounds. Xander couldn't figure how Buffy intended to keep the activities the Hellmouth wrought secret from Harry any longer. He had come very close to discovering the wrongness of the area at the pizza parlor, Xander could tell at the way Harry looked at Buffy's abnormal beer-induced actions. Anya's speech pattern seemed more an amusement than a real curve ball, but even that had to have hit the weirdness radar. The blowup helped throw him askew but the follow-up at The Bronze? Xander couldn't remember fully what occurred in the course of that night but he knew Harry noticed something. The Hellmouth complacency mojo didn't seem to work on Harry. Not at all.
Xander pedaled faster, thankful that Angel had decided not to follow them back to Giles' place. It was going to be hard enough explaining the presence of Spike and Anya, adding a third into the mix? He was three shades of happy to not be in the Slayer's shoes this night. Harry should be showing up in the next ten minutes! Xander could only hope that this fight would be well and done by that time. He almost sighed in relief as the staircase down to Giles' apartment peeked into view.
Abandoning the bicycle in mid-motion, Xander ignoring the sound of it crashing as it fell to its side. His heart began pounding in earnest as he charged down into the brick courtyard that led to Giles' front door. One little, two little—not helping! Xander took one shuddering breath before planting his left foot just above the tailbone of one of the fighting spirits. He cheered inside as the being went down, crushing the notched arrow in the fall. The swift recovery, Xander did not expect. Shit! Even worse, the other spirit attacking from the front of the apartment leapt down to surround him. Oh, I need help. Anya and Willow sprinted down the stairs, dividing the attention of the new arrival. A quickly thrown potted plant and the addition of gardening tools thoroughly distracted the new opponent.
Okay, Xander, you can do this! Squaring off with his newly acquired sparring partner, Xander swallowed hard. They danced back and forth, narrowly avoiding the empty fountain. A glancing punch, a shallow leg sweep. Move after move. Xander swept back, attempting to dodge as many of the blows as he could, but he wasn't feeling his best and, grudgingly, had not had that many lessons in fighting. Is it a bad that I want Harry to see this? Xander's wandering thoughts blinded him to the sudden lunge that pushed him through the front door, and into the five man frenzy inside.
Perturbed by the attitude he continued to receive from Buffy, Harry growled as he exited the car. He had grown used to people hating him for being oh so perfect or being adored unabashedly by the girls who subscribed to Witch Weekly but this utter contempt from someone who knew absolutely nothing about him? It had been novel at first, but now it was irritating. Harry swallowed guiltily about his white lie to Xander earlier. He did have a call to Teddy, but he also needed to visit LA, pick up a potion to undo the nasty that pernicious spirit had inflicted on his boyfriend. I'll have to tell him tonight. Just hope he's okay with it.
Sighing, Harry collected the dessert dish from the front passenger seat and calmly made his way to the apartment proper, slowly schooling his face into a slightly more cheerful look. Don't be a downer. You are a guest and you shall be genial. Harry blanched slightly as his own mental voice tuned slightly into Aunt Petunia.
The sounds of a scuffle made Harry falter. What in the world? Xander's friend Willow and the strangely verbose female, Anya, were both chopping away at what appeared to be a twin to the spirit Harry had spoken to earlier that week. Sighing internally, Harry set the dessert dish down, silently casting a temporary protection charm to keep the bugs and beasts away. When will these spirits learn to listen?
Anger renewed, Harry drew his favorite dagger before skipping silently down the staircase. In between raining blows with the shovels, Harry spun, his left leg swinging high to strike the spirit's neck with the inside of his ankle. The blow landed hard, throwing the being to the ground in a daze. Following his own leg down, Harry struck out with the dagger, swiping high at the spirit's upper arm. A look of peace fell across his face before he faded into the ether.
"See? I told you," Anya murmured, watching as Willow goggled at the sight.
Harry ignored the two females, more concerned by the sounds coming from inside the apartment. Sprinting forward, Harry spied Xander pummeling one of the spirits, Giles another, Buffy in a mano-a-mano with the original and one other poised to pounce on her back. I don't think so! Harry gave an unwitting cry as he flew forward, flinging the backstabbing transgressor into the wall. The sound of picture frames shattering on the floor made Harry wince. Damn it! This is getting ugly.
A glancing blow to Harry's jaw forced his attention back to his opponent. The close quarters of the apartment forced Harry to use his arms instead of his preferred distance blows with his legs. If only Quidditch had been a more upper body sport. Harry laughed at himself. It was an equally upper and lower sport, but not the way he played it. Just as well, Harry hunting was definitely a lower body sport. The spirit brazenly leapt forward, Harry dodged, sweeping his right arm up under his armpit, twisting the spirit around, shoving him into the wall. The spirit kicked back, wrenching free of Harry's hold.
"Your knife can kill you," Buffy exclaimed in astonished awe filling a downward fall in the sounds of violence.
The sudden sound of a bear snarling rent the air, drawing Harry away from his current adversary to see the fifth spirit, the original, had morphed into a vicious brown bear. Enough of this! Leaving Xander to deal with his one spirit, Harry knocked his to the side with a hard blow to the solar plexus.
The frantic yelling of an unknown male blanketed all other sounds. "A bear! You made a bear!" Grateful for the hysterical sounds, Harry summoned his wand, marking a sharp slash and full circle swish to the floor beneath the growling beast.
"I didn't mean to," Buffy half-whimpered, her purloined dagger barely remaining in her slackening hand.
Harry had never heard her sound so meek. That's a switch. The cry of "Undo it! Undo it!" from the still unidentified man forced Harry to draw faster. One slash. Another. The fight renewed from the previously downed spirits behind him and the sound of a chair being shuffle-dragged filled the short dins in the combat.
One more vicious slash of Harry's wand and the symbol completed. Everything stopped. The first slash lit up in a menacing dark green glow, bisecting the bear. The circular line lit in an ominous black willowy shadow. The final three lines radiated a silver glow in order of being writ upon the ground. Harry prowled forward, wand pointed downward, a faint silver light still present at its tip. His left arm was drawn up in front, his eyes glinting in the reflecting light from the drawn sign of the Deathly Hallows.
A silence descended heavily as the bear's human-shaped compatriots faded in mid-strike. Faltering hands and feet settled as all attention was drawn to the otherworldly light in the center of the room.
The bass timbre in Harry's voice nearly boomed across the room as he spoke in a deep growl. "I told you to leave." The dagger, glowing an icy shade of blue, laid unwaveringly parallel to his left forearm, poised to easily be thrown in whichever direction necessary but still threateningly close to the bear's throat, still in its two-legged stance. The painted lines that had formed on the carpet became less defined as the radiating light meshed together.
The bear shaped spirit shuffled backward, and stopped, unable to leave the confines of the outward triangle. The visage faded from bear to the previous warrior native. "My people cry for vengeance! It must be answered by the blood of these peoples' warriors!" He waved emphatically to encompass the panting occupants of the room. Harry absently noted the trussed up figure on the floor, arrows poking every which way.
"I forgave your immediate transgression; you were blinded by the day. I understand why you mistook Xander to be your enemy." Harry's calm statements shook a gasp from Xander. "But I also told you not to pursue this vendetta. Vengeance begets vengeance. It leads unto itself in a vicious cycle. You were to leave peaceably. And your failure to adhere leaves me no choice." The luminous dagger flashed brighter in intensity, lending its own fire to the light Harry's emerald orbs appeared to emanate, portraying a sickly demonic visage. A split second passed before the blade appeared to dim, but it hadn't. The lethal length sat plunged hilt deep in the chest of the silently screaming spirit.
The ensemble stared as the malevolent spirit disappeared, the glowing dagger plunged into its chest. The luminous symbol faded from the floor in time with the dagger. The wand Harry held in his right hand appeared to evaporate as he turned to survey the carnage of the battle. He winced at the incredulous looks, and mild betrayal emanating solely from Xander. Standing erect, his left hand moving smoothly into the air, palm flatly facing the ceiling, Harry gulped, closing his eyes. A floating glass bowl with alternating layers of a white creamy substance and raspberries breezed through the open door to alight softly upon the elevated palm. "Eton mess?" he winced, biting his lip.
No one moved, even when the smoke detector began to titter about.