The Moving Picture
The Moving Picture
Prompt: 083 Picture
Summary: Xander's wish comes true, much to his horrified dismay.
Xander Harris sat up sharply in his bed, gasping for breath, worked up by whatever he'd been dreaming. He closed his eyes and took several deep breaths, trying to calm the quick beating of his heart.
Thankfully, he couldn't remember the dream but whatever it had been, it had actually scared him. Considering that he was something of a veteran on the supernatural front, he truly didn't want to know what his dream had been about.
After several minutes of trying to hold his mind carefully blank in the way Oz had taught him to calm the nightmares that haunted him, Xander finally relaxed.
At least he was relaxed until he opened his eyes.
The first thing to hit him was that this room was in no way, shape or form the lair of luxury he had created in his apartment. Xander didn't spare much money for decorating his place except for his stereo, game system, widescreen television and the tables to put them on. But his bedroom had been created as a place of refuge and comfort. HIS room should have a huge, comfy king-size bed complete with soft sheets and a down comforter.
The bed he currently occupied, however, was a rickety single bed with a lumpy mattress, scratchy sheets and a single thin blanket. The room around him was plain with hardly any furniture except a bedside table and a desk. And a large cage in the corner of the room with its door wide open occupied by a large white owl.
An honest-to-god owl.
The owl noticed his stare and hooted at him curiously.
Xander felt his breathing getting fast again and he forced himself to calm down. There was a perfectly rational explanation for this. Willow was probably teasing him about his Harry Potter obsession again. Yeah that was it.
That's when he noticed the second thing. Slowly, he reached up to cover his right eye - and found he could still see.
The wonder of having sight from both eyes held him still for several minutes as he looked left and right, up and down, checking out the room and the soft moonlight that was beaming through the half-open window across from his bed. After several minutes, however, he found himself staring down at his hands.
His rather small, oddly callused hands.
He flexed his fingers several times and noted no sign of the stiffness in his right hand from when it was broken in several places after he punched a very stony-skinned Plaris demon. They weren't even scarred except for the faint line on the left one from when Dudley had slammed his hand in the kitchen doorway and sliced it open when he was six. Good thing his accidental magic had kicked in and healed it or he'd have bled to death for all the care Aunt Petunia had showed him.
Xander's thoughts came to an abrupt halt. He stared at his hands for another few seconds before he slowly pulled back the thin blanket and stood, glancing around the room again. Not finding what he wanted, he walked quietly over to open the door of his room and looked out into the shadowed hallway. There were three other closed doors and an open door right across from him that led into a bathroom. He listened for any movement but all he heard were deep, resonating snores coming from the room next to his.
After a moment, he wandered across the hall and flicked on the light in the bathroom. He took a deep breath, and then stepped in front of the mirror.
For several moments, he just stared at his reflection. After all, it had been more than a decade since he'd last seen this image.
An adolescent Xander Harris stared back at him. He guessed absently that he was around twelve or thirteen years old. He looked pretty much the same as he remembered though he was shorter and thinner. His eyes (TWO eyes, TWO!) were still brown though they looked large in his thin face. His hair was still rather messy and, in his opinion, a boring brunet color.
Oh and there was a red, lightening-bolt shaped scar in the center of his forehead.
Xander spent awhile staring at the odd mark on his forehead before he carefully reached up to touch it. He ran his fingers along the rough edges of the lighten-bolt shape and visibly shivered.
After a few more minutes of staring at his silent reflection, he flipped off the bathroom light and went back to his room. He closed the door quietly, not wanting to bring down the wrath of Vernon Dursley on his head, before he walked over to the window and stared out at the unfamiliar landscape.
He saw lots of perfect houses and fenced-in backyards over which gossipy neighbors might hang in the afternoon. It was a prime example of modern British suburbia. Xander shuddered.
This could not be happening to him. He was a veteran demon hunter. He was the senior Watcher assigned to the North American continent. He *knew* better than to say the W-word. And now where did he seem to be? Stuck in Surrey or some such place in the middle of Tweedland under the thumb of a family that hated everything he was.
Xander snorted. Of course, that wasn't so different from where he grew up in the first place but really, he'd done his time as an adolescent. He was in absolutely *no* hurry to return to said state of teenageness to start all over again.
He rubbed his forehead absently and then jerked his fingers away when they encountered his scar. It was bloody weird to have that thing on his forehead. He wasn't supposed to have a scar right between his eyes. He wasn't even supposed to have two eyes! And yet, he knew that scar and remembered having it his whole life. At one time, he thought it was the most interesting thing about his whole appearance.
With a low groan he laid his head against the frame of the window as he stared outside. He was never going to get his thoughts straightened out.
On one side of his mind, he clearly remembered being Xander Harris, Founding Scooby and Senior Member of the new International Watcher's Council. On the other side of his mind, however, he had vivid memories of Uncle Vernon and his rather heavy hand, of Aunt Petunia and her high disparaging voice and contemptible looks, and Cousin Dudley whose favorite activity consisted of gathering his gang and bellowing shouts of "Xander Hunting Season is now open!"
He remembered his high school graduation day and blowing an ascended demon to kingdom come but he also remembered facing off with Professor Quirrell and Voldemort in front of the Mirror of Erised at the end of his first year. He remembered living with William the Bloody in his basement and he remembered playing exploding snap in his house common room at Hogwarts. He remembered defeating Adam as part of the spell-enhanced Buffy and he remembered the feel of the Sword of Gryffindor sliding into the head of the attacking basilisk, something that happened only about a month ago according to his Boy-Who-Lived memories.
Xander shuffled over to his bed and slumped down on it. He had to face the fact that he'd gotten himself into deep poop. He'd shrunk from a very in shape and capable twenty-five-year-old man to a scrawny and soft thirteen-year-old adolescent. His mind was full of Harry Potter's wizardy thoughts, emotions and fears as well as Xander Harris' thoughts, emotions and fears, both of which primarily consisted of 'what the hell happened here?'.
"I'm going to need some serious therapy," he groaned softly. "Somebody, somewhere is laughing their bloody arse off."
And to top it all off, now he sounded like Giles.
After several minutes of trying to quiet both sides of his frantic brain, Xander finally noticed movement on the bedside table to his left. Briefly, Xander spared a moment to be joyously amazed at the fact that he now had two eyes even if he was in some twisted Harry Potter universe. Then he realized he was looking at a picture - a moving picture - of his parents.
Xander reached out and picked up the picture, running his fingers along the frame with an awed reverence he felt welling up from the Harry Potter side of his brain. His parents looked so young, much younger than any picture he'd ever seen of them. It looked like they couldn't be older than he had been when he had explosively graduated from high school. The couple was whirling around in a courtyard somewhere, their expressions happy and loving, their arms wrapped around each other.
These were his parents, Anthony and Jessica Harris; members of the Order of the Phoenix and Aurors in their own right. His parents who had defied a Dark Lord and gone into hiding to protect themselves and their son.
His Harry memories told him he'd often been compared to his father but Xander didn't see much of a resemblance. He'd never been compared to his Dad in Sunnydale and he had certainly gone out of his way to be as unlike the man as possible. He did have his mother's eyes though. His Xander side remembered seeing those blood-shot brown eyes staring at him many times as though wondering why the hell he was in her house.
But this couple wasn't the same as Anthony and Jessica from Sunnydale. This Tony had defended his wife and son against the Dark Lord. This Jessica had willingly died for her child. He couldn’t imagine the parents he’d grown up with doing either.
Xander reached out to touch the image of his parents. This couple had loved him even as they had died for him.
As he set the picture frame back on his bedside table, he wondered about the pair. If this Anthony and Jessica Harris had lived, would they have become like the parents he knew in Sunnydale? At best lazy, hung-over sots and at worst, loud, angry drunks who had no problem showing their disdain for him or, in his father’s case, just giving him the back of his hand?
Xander looked at the picture again. He didn't think so. They looked happy and content together. His Harry side remembered Hagrid pointing out this picture when he'd given the album to Xander back at the end of first year and saying he thought that the Harrises had just found out that Jessica was pregnant in that picture and even though you couldn't see him, Xander was in the picture too.
Jessica and Tony Harris from Sunnydale had never wanted a child and had told him many times how he'd ruined their lives.
But in this picture, they were happy, even celebrating the fact that they would have a child. They *wanted* Xander and would have loved him more than anything else in their lives.
With that realization, Xander accepted that these were his parents and had they lived, he would have been a very happy son. But they had died, been murdered, by a dark wizard bent on taking over their world. Between one moment and the next, the immature anger and hatred a thirteen-year-old fledgling wizard held for the Dark Lord who had killed his parents was focused into the determination and purpose of a twenty-five-year old demon hunting, Slayer training Watcher out to avenge his parents and take down said Dark Lord.
Xander had almost two years to plan before Voldemort tried to bring himself back. His third and fourth years would be plenty of time to scheme ways to get rid of Horcruxes. The Boy-Who-Lived gave a wicked smile.
Wouldn't the Dark Wanker be in for a surprise when he finally showed up again?