There are quite a few curse words (language, not magic) in this chapter!Note
: I hadn't intended for things to come out this way, but when I was checking episode air dates (time-line issues) I realized that I had Xander moving out of the building only a few days before Cordelia moved out. (Using episode dates)
Anyway, for the record, Xander and Cordelia never crossed paths, because she never saw him.Xander Season One
Los Angeles was starting to grow on Xander, despite the fact that he was feeling a bit lonely. Of course, that was probably because Thanksgiving was only four days away, and he still hadn't made any friends. Most of the time that didn't bother Xander, but as the holidays drew closer he was feeling more alone than ever.
Just before coming in to work tonight, he'd realized that he wasn't missing his parents, but he was missing Willow, Giles, and Buffy something awful. So, much so that for about five minutes he'd been ready to blow off his job and rush back to Sunnydale. Thankfully, he'd pulled himself together, and realized that even if he did go back he needed to have a bit more money on him first, because Xander was fairly sure that he'd been gone long enough for his parents to have completely forgotten him, which would make moving back in with them problematic at best.
In spite of those thoughts, Xander felt himself smile. He knew he wouldn't make it back to Sunnydale until after Christmas, because he doubted he'd make it to Las Vegas until after Christmas, and he was determined to visit Las Vegas before returning to Sunnydale. Still he was planning to send some presents back to Sunnydale for Willow, Giles, Buffy, and her mother.
There was some guilt at the thought of not sending anything back for his parents, but since he was pretty sure his parents wouldn't remember him anymore the guilt was fleeting.
Xander decided that he would send something back for his mother, because despite the fact that in recent memory she hadn't cared about him anymore than his father, Xander could still vaguely remember a time when she had at the very least pretended to care. Of course, he knew he'd put more thought into what he'd get for Buffy's mother over his own.
Xander almost laughed, but since he was on-stage dancing, a laugh would ruin the whole thing. But it was weird that he felt as though Buffy's mother was more of a mother to him than the woman who'd given birth to him.
The music stopped, and Xander gave one last wiggle before moving toward the back of the stage. He was done for the night, and he was more than ready to get changed and get out of here.
Finally, he looked like his normal self again, he gathered up his stuff, and quickly bagged it. His current stage out-fit, that of a pedophiles wet dream, was getting stale which meant it was time to change his style. He knew it was getting stale because his nightly take was starting to drop.
Xander frowned. That meant he would need to do some shopping tomorrow, or rather later today.
Xander stepped out of the back door, and into the surprisingly cool night.
He smiled. His new apartment was only a block away from the club, so he would get home before he could get cold.
He hadn't been trying to get an apartment close to his job, it had simply worked out that way. The apartment wasn't any larger than the one he'd had before, but it was cleaner, and so far Xander hadn't seen a roach, monster or otherwise. There was also the added bonus of living close to the club because it saved gas, which saved him money.
Xander was so lost in thought that he didn't realize he wasn't alone until he almost ran into the large man in front of him.
"Sorry," Xander whispered, and moved to walk around the guy.
He was half-way home, so if he got into trouble he had an equal distance on either side before reaching safety. The guy was a club regular, Xander didn't know his name, and while he knew some dancers did have trouble with costumers, to date Xander hadn't had a problem. He didn't expect to now, because if he recalled correctly this guy was one of the more tame regulars.
"Can I buy you a drink?" The guy asked.
"Sorry," Xander replied. "Not interested. Not gay, actually," he added with a smile hoping to soften the blow.
The guy laughed. "You're kidding me, right? There's no way a straight guy would ever do that hip roll thing you pull off every night."
"Apparently there is," Xander replied making sure his voice was firm.
The guy stepped closer, and Xander felt a flutter of fear. While he wasn't a weakling anymore, size still mattered, and he was quite a bit smaller than the the man in front of him.
"How do you know if you've never been with a man?"
Xander couldn't help himself, he laughed. He laughed so hard that his sides hurt, and after awhile he realized that the other guy was laughing as well.
Finally, Xander pulled himself together, and gave the other man his "are you kidding me?" look, which caused the other man to chuckle.
"Does that ever actually work?"
The guy winked. "You'd be surprised."
"Well, I've never been bitt...," Xander caught himself. "I've never had my skull crushed, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't enjoy it."
"You ever change your mind," the other guy said, and slapped a card in his hand. "Give me a call."
Then to Xander's relief the other man simply walked away.~ * ~ * ~
Xander smiled, his shift for the night was over, and he had the next two days off. It wasn't strictly a good thing, because weekends were when the best money was made. However, the dancer who'd taken an instant dislike to the Xan-man had wanted Thanksgiving day off, and so he'd been given the day off, and Xander had ended up with the weekend off.
Any other time, Xander might have put up a fuss, because time off meant less money, but he'd finally splurged and bought himself a television. He was eager to crash in front of it with his stack of movies, and handy stash of snacks.
At some point Xander firmly expected to fall asleep, and normally that would be bad, but since he didn't have to work tomorrow night it wouldn't matter.
Xander smiled again. It wasn't a large television, but it did have a built-in VCR which made it very special. Xander had a stack of rented movies, and was ready to set back and enjoy.
He popped in the first movie, and tossed his pillow on the couch.
Fifteen minutes later, Xander was starting to suspect he'd unintentionally picked up a chick flick, but was to lazy to check the title, or get up and put in another.
Thirty minutes later, Xander knew
he was watching a chick-flick, and still instead of getting up he allowed his eyes to close.
As he hovered somewhere between being asleep and being awake, Xander thought about the two sexual encounters he'd had since coming to Los Angeles. The first one had been a total and complete misunderstanding. Xander had thought the woman a vampire, and by the time he realized she wasn't, he'd found himself standing in front of her apartment.
She'd been giving him a look that said she was seconds away from calling the police, and Xander had scrambled to cover himself and his actions. Whatever he'd said had apparently lead her to believe he was wanting sex.
Xander almost laughed. He couldn't remember what he'd said to give her that idea, but surprisingly instead of screaming or doing him bodily harm, she'd invited him upstairs. He knew he should have said no, but that was asking to much from a nineteen year old boy, especially considering that said boy hadn't had sex since the first time he'd had sex with Faith, the psycho Slayer.
It was almost strange, because after that encounter he'd come to a true understanding of what he'd meant to Faith. It wasn't pretty, but it was a real eye-opener. Even after Faith had tried to kill him, Xander had truly believed that he'd meant more to Faith than she'd been letting on. Now he knew he really hadn't, to Faith he'd been nothing more than a quick easy screw.
His most recent sexual encounter, just last night in fact, hadn't been accidental at all. Despite that it was just as meaningless. She was a dancer in another club, and Xander had come to realize that more often than not dancers ended up dating other dancers, unless they decided to try for a big score from a rich patron, but few rarely got that lucky.
And while there was still a part of Xander that believed sex between two people should be more meaningful, Xander was coming to realize that he wasn't actually interested in having a relationship, especially not in Los Angeles, because he didn't plan on being in Los Angeles that long. However, that didn't stop him from getting horny, so it was quickly coming down to having Faith-like sex with people, or accepting celibacy. The latter was something he accepted he'd never be able to pull off.
Sometime later, Xander's eyes flew open as his ears realized the horrible screeching sound was not from his dreams. He jumped up, because he was certain the building was seconds away from collapse.
As he ran for the door, he briefly registered that it was after sunrise. Mostly he was busy being grateful that he hadn't taken off his clothing before starting the movie.
He was actually out of his apartment, and outside before realizing that he was the only one having a reaction to the sound.
Xander leaned against the wall to give his heartbeat time to return to normal. Finally, Xander moved from the wall to look around. He was sure he'd heard something, but couldn't find any evidence of anything wrong.
He turned, and made his way back inside, and decided that he'd just been having a nightmare. Clearly he was the only one who'd heard anything, which indicated that the sound had been in his mind.
That thought went right out the window when he walked into his apartment. He could only gape at the body on his living room floor behind the couch he'd been sleeping on.
After a moment, he pulled himself together, and pushed the door shut.
Since the figure was on its side with its back to Xander, he couldn't be sure, but he thought the figure was male. He could also see a patch of dark hair that was almost as wild as his own.
He slowly walked over, ever aware that it could be a trap, but Xander didn't think it was. While he knew there were supernatural elements in Los Angeles, the figure couldn't be a vampire, because Xander had invited no one in. Of course, that didn't mean the figure wasn't something else, but Xander's instincts were telling him that he was safe, and since his instincts were fairly well-honed from his life on the Hellmouth, Xander decided to trust them.
Gently as he could, Xander pushed the figure until he was on his back. The boy was quite a bit smaller than Xander, and he looked like he'd spent the night, or maybe even a week, fighting for his life. There was an awful gash on his forehead, thankfully it wasn't bleeding heavily, though it was bleeding.
Xander went to the bathroom, and came back ready to clean and bandage the boy as best he could. The boys face would be one big bruise for several days, but at least his pulse seemed strong and steady.
Once he cleaned the boys face, he realized that he needed to strip the boy down to be sure there weren't some injuries under his clothing. Xander hesitated for a moment, because he knew if he woke up in a strange place almost nude he'd freak out pretty badly.
Finally, he overcame his own objections, and removed what Xander could only describe as one weird-ass dress. They were torn apart, but Xander suspected they'd been good quality before whatever brawl the boy had gotten into.
The question of how the boy had ended up in his living room would have to wait until the boy was awake, but Xander knew his instincts had been right, this boy wasn't a threat.
Thankfully, while his body while covered in cuts and bruises his body seemed to be in much better shape than his face. Still Xander did his best to clean the child up, and finally moved the boy to his bed. If necessary Xander could sleep on the couch until the boy woke, though hopefully he would wake soon. Not because Xander wanted his bed, but because Xander knew the longer the boy slept the more chance there was that he was badly injured.
Thirty minutes later, Xander realized there was another problem. The boy's clothing was useless, so Xander needed to find something the boy could wear when he woke up. There was no way Xander was going to go shopping for a dress, but he did know of a little shop around the corner that had knock-off brand-names. He could at least get the boy a pair of jeans and a shirt.~ * ~ * ~
Xander returned, and found that he was actually happy that the boy was still sleeping. There's no telling how the boy would've reacted upon waking alone in a strange place.
Xander placed the clothing at the foot of the bed. He'd done his best to measure the small boy before he'd left, so he was reasonably sure the clothing would fit. The shoes might not, because the shoes he'd bought seemed to be quite a bit larger than the boys feet.
Xander took one last look at the figure on his bed and shrugged. There wasn't much he could do now but wait for the boy to awake and explain himself.
As he returned to the living room, Xander decided he'd just continue on with his plan to watch movies until the boy woke up. Xander looked through his selections, and finally decided to watch The Breakfast Club
. He'd seen that movie more than a dozen times, but at least it wasn't a chick-flick, and he wouldn't be broken up about missing a few scenes should his guest wake before it ended.~ * ~ * ~
About half-way through the movie, Xander heard a groan coming from the bedroom. He hit the stop button, and got to his feet.
He stopped at the bedroom door, and watched as his guest slowly opened his eyes. Xander found himself amazed at the brilliant green color of the boys eyes.
The boy rubbed his forehead, then flinched.
"So," Xander said. "Want to tell me why you decided to drop in on me?"
The boy blinked at him, and Xander was starting to wonder if there wasn't something mentally wrong with the boy.
"Who are you?" the boy finally said, and Xander realized this boy sounded even more British than Giles. "Where am I?"
"I'm Xander," he replied. While he wanted answers, it might help speed things up if he answered the boy first. "And you are in Los Angeles."
"Sorry, I knew the old bastard was planning something," the boy started to speak. "But I thought it was my death, not shipping me off to the states."
"You have a name?" Xander asked after a moment of silence.
The boy grinned. "Sorry. My name is Harry Potter."
He seemed to be watching Xander for some reaction to his name, and seemed very confused when Xander only responded with, "nice to meet you."
"You really have no idea who I am?" Harry asked. "Are you a Muggle?"
"Never heard of you before," Xander replied with a grin. "And I'm pretty sure I'm a human, though I suppose some people might debate that."
"Muggle then," Harry said to himself.
Xander opened his mouth to ask what exactly a Muggle was, but quickly decided against it because one he didn't care, and two it just wasn't important.
"So, who's the old bastard who shipped you off to L.A.?"
For a moment, Xander was sure Harry wasn't going to respond, then a "fuck it" expression crossed the boys face, and he opened his mouth.
"The Headmaster of my school," he paused, and sighed. "It's actually a long story."
Xander grinned, and crossed his arms. "I've got time."
Harry chuckled, and started to speak.
"The story of why I'm here begins at the end," Harry said. "Where I'm from there are witches and wizards, and not all of them are good. I've been hunted most of my life by a mad-man who wanted me dead."
"The old bastard?" Xander asked, despite the fact that he was completely floored. Either the boy was completely insane, or something very weird was going on. Part of Xander wanted to believe the boy was just bug-fuck, but somehow he knew the boy was telling him the truth.
"No," Harry replied with a smile. "That one started wanting me dead later," a pause. "Or maybe he planned my death from the beginning. I don't rightly know. The old bastard is, or was, the leader of the so-called light side. The one who was hunting me was the leader of the so-called dark side."
"Did you by any chance live on a Hellmouth?" Xander asked.
Harry looked confused, so Xander suspected not. He waved his own question away, and the boy continued.
"Anyway, when I was eleven I got a letter from my magical school informing me that I'd been accepted," Harry said, and the tone of his voice was bitter. "Of course, since I'd been raised in the muggle world I had no idea I was a wizard, let alone that there was actually a magical world. You see, the old bastard had the brilliant idea of hiding me away from Voldemort and his followers in the muggle world."
"What about your parents?" Xander asked, though if the boys parents were like his the question was all ready answered.
"Voldemort killed them when I was fifteen months old," Harry replied, and Xander suddenly wanted to hug the younger man. "And the old bastard thought sending me off to my magic hating relatives would be perfect."
Xander almost flinched. From reading between the lines, Xander suspected his own upbringing would be considered almost normal up in comparison to Harry's.
"Of course, aside from a few headaches I didn't have a problem with anyone from the magical world until I actually entered it."
Xander waited, then waited some more, because it was clear the young man was lost in his own thoughts.
"He was testing me my first year," Harry said softly. "Either that or he wanted the stone for himself, I'm starting to suspect the latter," then he shook himself, and proceeded to tell Xander the story of his first year.
"Damn!" Xander said once Harry finished. "I think it was probably a bit of both."
Harry smiled. "It would explain why he allowed
himself to die at the end of my sixth year."
"Well, I'm starting to suspect your life has been more interesting
than mine," Xander said. It wasn't right that this kid had faced an evil dark lord at eleven years old. At eleven Xander had still been happily in the dark when it came to the true facts of life.
"Still like a fool, I believed," Harry said. "I should have known better than to trust..."
Xander knew this one. "Because you'd been done wrong by all the adults in your life."
Harry nodded. "I watched as one by one the adults at my primary school figured out what was going on, and one by one watched them ignore what they knew."
"People see what they want to see," Xander agreed. He'd learned that lesson after the Harvest. As he'd said then, the dead had risen, and yet everyone just went on their way acting like it hadn't happened.
"But I thought Dumbledore was different, that he actually cared about me. Turns out he only cared about making sure his weapon could do the job."
"Kill Voldemort," Harry replied grimly. "Just before Voldemort killed my parents there was a prophecy..."
Xander couldn't help but groan. After that first year with Buffy he officially hated prophecies.
"...made that basically said I was the only one who could defeat Voldemort," Harry said, then frowned. "Actually, to be fair, there were two - maybe three - of us who could
have been chosen by the terms of the prophecy, but Voldemort chose me."
"Lucky you," Xander said darkly, and for some reason Harry grinned.
"Yeah, lucky me," Harry finally said darkly, which didn't match the smile on his face. "Anyway, my second year was much the same, except I faced a version of Voldemort, not Voldemort himself. Though it was after that year I started to suspect there was much being kept from me, and not all of it for my own good as the old bastard claimed.
"Voldemort actually returned in the flesh at the end of my forth year," Harry said, and Xander had the distinct impression that Harry was skipping his third year on purpose, and not simply because nothing had happened.
"And still I was sent back to the muggle world..."
"You mean you weren't getting special training?" Xander asked. He'd thought Harry was simply glossing over that part.
"Nope. Finally, in my fifth year I did get one
special course," Harry said, then frowned. "It was bad, Dumbledore had someone who hated me trying to teach me."
Xander actually moved, and pulled Harry into his arms when he saw that the boy was crying. He knew it was a girly thing to do, but clearly this kid needed a hug. A minute later, Harry seemed to pull himself together, and Xander let him go.
"That's not strictly true, I did have a special course in my third year as well. But that was more me stepping up and demanding it rather than the old bastard ordering it.
"I didn't learn," Harry said. "In my fifth year, and because of that my Godfather died."
The more Harry talked the more Xander wanted to actually kill someone, maybe even several someones. The boys Godfather had been sent off to prison without a trial, and from the way Harry talked Xander would rather stay in a normal prison being gang-raped by guys named Butch rather than spending even one second in a magical prison.
Xander wondered if Harry saw what Xander was seeing here. It seemed weird that this Dumbledore never even tried to get the boys Godfather a new trial, and as Harry talked, Xander was starting to suspect that this Dumbledore hadn't liked that the boy and his Godfather had started getting close.
Xander shivered, because it was looking more and more as though the old man had arranged the Godfather's death.
"I think so too," Harry said, and Xander realized he'd spoken aloud. "If he'd stayed around, he would have eventually been cleared. That would have fucked with the old bastard sending me off to the muggles every summer. But I thought perhaps I was being overly paranoid."
Xander laughed. "I suspect you weren't paranoid enough. But seriously, how did this guy end up becoming the Headmaster of a school?"
Harry actually laughed. "He was a war hero, so to speak. Before Voldemort there was another Dark Lord, and another hero to defeat him."
"Let me guess," Xander said. "Dumbledore was that hero."
Harry nodded. "I think he wanted to take over, but thought being at the school would be better than being Minister of Magic. But he has a few issues when it comes to Slytherins," Harry looked guilty for a moment. "I admit that there was a time I had those same issues."
"Understandable," Xander replied. "All the people you spoke with felt the same way, yes?" Harry nodded. "So naturally you started to see things the same way they did. You were basically programmed."
Harry looked as though he'd never considered that before.
"Anyway, I also didn't know that as a wizard ages he goes through levels of power," Harry said. "There's a reason why there isn't a primary school for magical learning, though we do have cases of what's called accidental magic. For the most part the power isn't that strong, but when a magical child is ten they go through the first level.
"For most there are only two levels, but the strongest go through three. The first at ten, the next at fifteen, and if your lucky
the final one at seventeen."
"You had three?"
Harry nodded. "If I hadn't I probably wouldn't be here."
"That sounds like a story," Xander said.
Harry laughed. "I'm getting there," and Xander realized that Harry was just glad to have someone to talk to.
"The old bastard told me what he called the whole truth at the end of my fifth year, though he left a lot out. Such as the reason Voldemort didn't die when the killing curse backfired. But he did tell me about the prophecy, and the so-called blood magic that dictated the need to stay with the muggles."
Xander sat back and wished for a moment that he had some popcorn, because he thought things were about to get even more interesting. Than something else struck him.
"But wait," Xander said. "Didn't you say Voldemort used your blood..."
"Exactly," Harry replied bitterly. "Though since my relatives hated me I was never really safe there, but I certainly wasn't safe after that. I mean I still don't understand why we didn't destroy Voldemort's new body, and then go destroy all the Horcruxes after."
Harry shook his head. "The name isn't important. Basically what he did was split his soul into pieces, and then tied those soul pieces to certain objects..."
"Which tied him to life?"
"Yeah. I destroyed one unknowingly in my second year. Probably the first one he created."
Harry nodded. "But he had several more. Anyway, my sixth year is where things get really interesting."
"There was a girl," Harry said, and Xander almost laughed. There was always a girl in stories like these.
"My best friends little sister, actually. Suddenly I found that I couldn't get her off my mind, even though I'd never really noticed her before that."
Xander understood that, he'd been the same way with Willow at the beginning of his senior year. Though somehow he suspected there was more to Harry's story than there was his and Willow's.
Xander almost laughed as Harry described the girl. If he was telling the truth this girl of Harry's and Willow could have been sisters. The main difference was that Harry's girl had come from a big family where Willow didn't, and that it was Hermione, (his best friend) not Ginny who was considered the smart one. Still Xander suspected if Willow and Ginny ever ended up side beside he'd do a double-take.
"So much was my mind on her that I wasn't paying as much attention to the old bastard and his stories about Voldemort as I should have. I suppose in the end that doesn't really matter.
"Finally, we got together, and I was in heaven," Harry said, and Xander was starting to wonder what was coming, because Harry didn't actually sound happy about finally getting together with his girl. "For about three weeks, then I realized I couldn't stay with her, because I was the hunted..."
"Meaning, anyone with you was in danger," Xander finished. There were moments, such as this one, when Xander started to believe the reason Buffy had chosen Angel was because Angel was a vampire, and therefore much harder to kill than an ordinary human. Of course, even Angel wasn't without things that could kill him.
However, Xander knew that wasn't right, because until this summer he'd stayed by Buffy's side with no intentions of leaving, and she allowed it. If she'd chosen Angel because there was less danger in doing so, she would have probably insisted that Xander stay out of things. As it was Xander had been in just as much danger being her friend as he would have been as her boyfriend.
"After the old bastard died
I told her we couldn't see each other anymore," Harry said, then chuckled. "At his funeral. She seemed to be okay with it, but it tore me up inside. So when I ended up staying with her family we drifted back together again just before I turned seventeen."
Xander tensed. The last magical level.~ * ~ * ~
: Whoops, there was a case of over-editing done to this chapter. I thought the way I originally had things was screwy, and so on my final read-through before posting I made a few changes. Turns out a few of those last minute changes shouldn't have been made. Things are back to the way they should be now.