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This story is No. 3 in the series "Correcting Past Mistakes". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Ragnarok is about to start the new term at Hogwarts, and things are going to be substantially different this time around.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > GeneralGreywizardFR18535,3861111738,36115 May 0910 May 13No

Chapter Five

Author's Note: Remember, “word” indicates speech, :: word :: indicates mental communication, { word } indicates a character's thoughts and // word \\ indicates translations into English from other languages.


Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
A relatively secluded section in the library
Approximately an hour after the Sorting Feast

"…could hardly believe that ol' Lucy could actually be that arrogant, not to mention that *stupid* that he'd try to mind-rape me without any preparation, or any kind of background briefing," Xander informed the rest of Ragnarok as they clustered around the table. The venerable antique was already loaded down with several stacks of books Hermione had selected from the virtually endless book shelves filling the library.

{ Kinda reminds me of all of the research sessions we used to do, back in the 'Dale, } Xander reflected with nostalgic fondness to himself for the briefest of moments before refocusing his attention back on the matter at hand.

"Anyway, once he started, I figured I might as well take advantage of the break he was offering. So while my avatar, Wolfgang, was ripping his throat out, I ransacked his memories for anything having to do with Tommy-Boy and his butt-buddies – and I gotta say, that’s when I hit the metaphorical jackpot!" the former Sunnydalian announced as he gave his family the exceedingly satisfied smile of a happy predator

:: Here, :: Xander went on, switching to mental communication as he offered the other members of Ragnarok a small 'package', while they all pretended to focus their attention on the books in front of them, :: this is everything that Malfoy knew about his fellow Death Nibblers. Now, we've got the floo passwords to their manors, the account numbers and passwords of the bank accounts he set up for whatever money they were funneling in from pureblood sympathizers or that they stole from their victims, and the various safe houses they've set up, in case things didn't go exactly the way they wanted. ::

:: I figure we should use all of this to drain their operating funds and that maybe we could set up a few 'welcome home!' surprises at their safe houses, :: the former Scooby recommended, his suggestion drawing similarly disturbing approving smiles from the rest of the group.

:: Excellent work, Xand, :: Hermione complimented her brother-in-law, :: especially for being able to take advantage of a spur of the moment opportunity like that. ::

:: But we have to be careful about how we use this information, :: the witch cautioned, :: so that Lucius doesn't ever suspect that you might have turned the tables and did to him what he was intending to do to you. ::

:: Hermione's right, Xand, :: Ron agreed, while a wide smile spread across his face as he began considering the potentially devastating results they could achieve against their enemies, using the intelligence Xander had managed to steal. :: We need to be *very* careful about exactly how and when we use this, but I'm estimating that this probably advances our previous timeline for operations by at least six months! ::

:: EX-cellent, Ronald! :: Xander responded, his projected impression of Mr. Burns (The Simpsons variety), drawing appreciative grins from the other members of his family.

:: Now, we should release the hounds! :: Ron chimed in with a smirk.

:: I think we should release the robotic Richard Simmons, :: Harry interjected, triggering a snort from Sabrina, and a smack on the shoulder, accompanied by a disapproving frown, from Hermione. :: That'll teach all of these pureblooded morons not to mess with us! ::

:: All right! No more Simpsons quotes! :: the brunette witch declared, turning her glare on the two remaining Ragnarok members with a Y-chromosome. :: We're trying to get something accomplished here, and that isn't helping in the least! ::

:: Jawöhl, mein herr! :: Xander replied as he projected an image of the Three stooges saluting.

:: Bloody berk! :: Hermione immediately thought back.

:: Children, play nice, or I'll make you both go stand in a corner, :: Sabrina broke in with a grin.

:: Aww, she started it! :: Xander kept up the act and gave a mental whine.

:: And I'm finishing it, :: Sabrina replied as she stuck her tongue out at him.

:: How you two put up with them, I'll never understand, :: Xander commented loudly to his two male siblings, and with a long, heartfelt, put-upon sigh.

In a rare display of wisdom and prudence that would have astonished any observers, both Harry and Ron pretended to not have heard their still-single brother, and feigned intense interest in the school books in front of them.


A hallway leading to the Slytherin common room

September 1, 1995
A short while later

"Did you truly think you could speak to me in the manner you did earlier and not expect to suffer the consequences, you arrogant piece of mudblood filth?"

Xander smiled to himself with satisfaction as he heard Draco's snide, nasal voice coming from the shadowed alcove abutting the hallway ahead and to his left.

:: Bingo! :: the time-traveler thought to himself as he took a moment to carefully set his bookbag against the side of the corridor, where it would, hopefully, be safely out of range of any random spells that might be cast. :: The Three Stooges appear, stage left, pretty much exactly where and when we figured they would. ::

As expected, the confrontation was taking place in the only section of the corridor which did not have any portraits hung on it, thus preventing the Headmaster from learning about anything which might occur in this particular section of the castle.

{ Now, if Spike, Junior, here continues to insist on not using any of the cleverness or cunning Slytherins are supposedly renowned for – and which none of these clowns could probably even spell, let alone use – then, things should go exactly the way I expect they will, } Potter predicted to himself.

"You're acting as though you're someone I need to be concerned about, Ferret-face," Xander declared as he paused his forward motion and turned slightly to face the new arrivals, so as to put his back to the wall of the corridor, "and that you're not some loudmouthed little putz who's thinking that his daddy's name and influence somehow makes him important and powerful, too."

"Big words from someone who tries to act so smart – and yet, you're out and about all by yourself, mudblood," Malfoy sneered as he semi-slithered out of the recess he and his two minions/bodyguards had concealed themselves within, while waiting to ambush Xander when he returned to the Slytherin dorms after checking out the library. "All sorts of *extremely* serious accidents could happen to someone in this sort of predicament."

"Hmm, I think I only heard that sort of comment a half-dozen times a night, back when I was still living in the 'Dale – and me and the other Scoobs were out on patrol, Spike, Junior," the former-Harris-turned-Potter smirked as he looked contemptuously at the self-styled 'Lord of the Slytherin Dorms' and the two thugs who accompanied him pretty much everywhere he went.

"Of course, none of *those* would-be bloodsucking parasites called us 'mudbloods,'" the former Scooby noted parenthetically as he shook his head reminiscently.

"They usually called us things like 'lunch,' 'dinner,' or 'a quick snack,'" Xander went on, a genuine smile slipping across his face as fond memories of times past, which had been spent with now completely alternate versions of the people he loved, streamed through his thoughts.

"And that was usually right before we stomped their asses onto the ground, too, and dusted them," Xander added, focusing his attention back on the trio before him as the smile on his lips turned a bit more feral.

Malfoy, for his part, was completely baffled by the apparently completely insane comments Potter was making, since they made no sense, whatsoever, and bore no relation at all to this situation. The two thugs, meanwhile, maintained their typical constipated expressions, as thinking wasn’t really their forte.

Shaking his head to dismiss Scarhead's brother's meaningless and irrelevant comments, Draco resumed his threats as he took a step forward towards the arrogant, loudmouthed mudblood.

"I'm going to enjoy seeing the expression on Scarhead's face at breakfast, when he finds out that you're in the infirmary. Almost as much I’m going to enjoy putting you there, mudblood," the would-be Death Eater-in-training declared with a wide smile as he tried to decide exactly which of the various spells that his father and the other Death Eaters had taught him and the other trainees over the summer he would use against this insignificant irritation.

"Well, don’t just stand there," Malfoy ordered his two underlings. "Get him!"

{ An 'Expulso' to the knee should be a good place to start, } Draco thought to himself with satisfaction, finally deciding on the proper spell to begin this lesson about Potter’s brother respecting his betters. { It'll cripple him and prevent him from escaping while he's lying on the floor and begging me for mercy, and then I decide what to do next. }

"Ex–" Draco's lips were just starting to form the first syllable of his attack when he was shocked beyond belief as the youngest Potter scion suddenly *moved* – seeming to almost disappear before any of his three Housemates could land an attack.

Xander had begun reacting the moment Draco started to issue his order to his two minions, far faster than any normal human could, while not moving at anything approaching his top speed. And after seeing the indifferent, uncaring expressions on both Crabbe's and Goyle's faces as they began focusing their attention on whichever spells they were intending to use on him, Xander nodded to himself with satisfaction at this final confirmation to him of the pair's allegiance and attitude.

{ Well, now I know for sure, that whatever I decide to do to these putzes – it's completely justified, } Xander thought to himself with a hard-edged smile as he darted to his left, removing himself from Malfoy's immediate line of sight, and heading towards Hulking Lump #1 – or Goyle, as the rest of the school would probably identify him.

Grabbing the would-be enforcer's outstretched right arm, Xander gave a relatively gentle twist to the massive thug's wrist with his right hand as he yanked Goyle's wand away with his left hand and let it drop to the stone floor. He then smiled to himself, as the temporally-displaced wizard’s hyper-acute caught the sound of several extremely delicate wrist bones snapping.

Stepping forward with his left foot and maintaining his hold on his opponent's arm, Xander then yanked Goyle towards him as he drove his right knee up and into this opponent's torso. His smile grew wider as he heard the *crunch* of several of the thug's ribs breaking from the impact.

Releasing his grip on Goyle, who was just beginning to scream and double over in pain as he fell to the floor, Potter turned his attention to Crabbe, whom he'd mentally dubbed Hulking Lump #2. { All right then. Now for you… }

Continuing to move forward, so that he was now actually behind his would-be assailants, Xander spun sharply on his right foot, so that he could approach Malfoy's remaining minion from the rear.

Deciding to go with a minimum amount of effort on this target, Harris simply reached forward and grabbed hold of each of the bully's biceps from the rear, before then pulling his arms apart while simultaneously twisting the would-be thug's arms forward. The Potter scion smiled with the satisfaction of a job well-done when he was rewarded with a loud, shocked scream of pain as both of Crabbe's arms were dislocated, the humerus completely separated from the glenoid socket.

Releasing his second victim and allowing him to drop to the floor, to writhe in agony, next to his fellow goon, Xander now focused his attention upon his final target as he grabbed Malfoy's right shoulder and spun the shorter blond youth around to face him.

"H-how...?" Draco managed to splutter. "Th-that's not possible," he protested, his voice quavering as he tried to comprehend what he'd just witnessed.

Seeing the expression of alarm, confusion and rapidly growing fear on the loudmouthed punk's face as Malfoy *finally* began to realize just how quickly and easily his would-be victim had incapacitated both of his minions, Xander gave the now trembling blond ponce a vicious smile before he grabbed hold of the would-be Little Bad's right hand, which still held his hawthorn wand.

"From what I hear, you're almost as free with the various curses as you are with your insults, Drake-y," Xander informed the cowering blond with a terrifying grin, one which had his victim come very close to wetting himself. "And after seeing how you and your butt buddies seem to operate, I'm guessing that it's also usually from behind or from a distance. Just like your typical ignorant bully who doesn’t know when he’s completely outclassed.

"So I'm gonna give you just one warning, *boy*," the Potter brother said in a calm and not-in-the-least ruffled voice – which was all the more terrifying because of its complete lack of emotion.

"And that is to keep in mind that I not only know where you sleep – *I* sleep just a few doors away from you. And trust me when I tell you that there is no place in this entire school, where you can hide from me," Xander reminded Malfoy far too calmly, the entirely-too-feral smile revealing what looked like very sharp teeth, and the look in his eyes reminding the now shaking Malfoy heir quite strongly of the now deceased Fenrir Greyback.

"If anything bad should ever happen to any member of my family or to any of our friends – Hellmouth, if I think you're even *considering* screwing around with me or mine, Drake-y, old boy – then I'm gonna come looking for you," he promised his dorm mate.

Malfoy was now visibly shaking with fear as he bore witness to Potter's smiling and clearly demented brother threaten him. Draco had absolutely no doubt, whatsoever, of the other wizard's sincerity as he listened to Potter promise, "And if I do that, I won't kill you, Draco.

"But by the time I'm finished with you, you'll definitely be wishing that I had."

Malfoy was distracted from any further consideration of his attacker's words when he suddenly felt agony shoot through his wand hand – it actually felt as though a massive boulder had been dropped on his hand – and he realized incredulously that Potter must have somehow managed to conjure some sort of device to crush the bones in his hand to powder.

The agony only lasted for a moment, though, before something slammed against his chin, and a second wave of pain began to shoot through his jaw – before merciful blackness claimed him, and Draco fell to the corridor floor, unconscious, just like Crabbe and Goyle, who had passed out from the pain of the injuries their attacker had inflicted.

Xander looked at the three unconscious would-be 'Little Bads' and smirked with satisfaction at a job well done. He had no concerns that Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle would tell anyone what had really happened here; the two brutes would listen to whatever Draco told them to do, and Spike Junior had (barely) enough brainpower to know when to keep his mouth shut. There was no way he would want the rest of Slytherin House to know just how easily he and his would-be minions had been taken down by just a single person, since it would destroy the image he'd managed to fashion for himself as one of the more influential powers in the school.

{ Okay then, } Xander thought to himself as he retrieved his bookbag, { now that that's taken care of, I can get to the important things I need to worry about – like getting ready for classes tomorrow morning. }

{ 'Cause Hermione will definitely give me hell if I show up not completely prepared, } he reflected.

{ Sometimes, I think Ron's right; the girl's completely mental about some things, } Xander declared as he resumed his trek to the Slytherin dorms, completely indifferent to the three unconscious bodies lying sprawled across the corridor floor behind him.

{ And if Ferret-face doesn’t settle down and shut up, then maybe using a pensive to show the memory of this little incident for the common room would be a good investment. Waste not, want not. }


Headmaster’s Office
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Approximately the same time as the above scene

{ Damn that arrogant, addlebrained idiot! } Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore quietly cursed to himself as he crumpled the parchment he held in his right hand into a small ball of trash.

{ Why did Sirius have to decide that *now* was the time to follow up on another rumor he'd received about Pettigrew's location? } Dumbledore asked the uncaring heavens above. { Having him stick close to Harry was the only reason I allowed the brat and his bint to rescue that fool from that blasted tower and the Dementors! If it ever looks as though Harry doesn't care about him any longer, then that's when he's finally outlived his usefulness. }

{ Ah well, never mind. It's not as though the idiot has any real chance to locate the traitor and capture him, let alone bring him before the Wizengamot, } Albus reflected as he wadded up the letter, and tossed it into the trash can next to his massive mahogany desk.

{ And even if he doesn't trust Severus not to tell Riddle about his quest, Sirius should at least trust *me* to keep the man in line. After all, I am the Leader of the Light. If he can’t trust me to make sure that my underlings follow my orders, then who can he trust? } the Headmaster thought resentfully to himself, unable to realize the irony of his own thoughts.

{ Merlin’s beard, but at least he's still allowing us to meet at Grimmauld Place in his absence. It would be too bloody annoying if Sirius had actually forced us to find somewhere else to meet! }


Gaunt shack
Little Hangleton
Northern England

September 2, 1995

Remus cautiously approached the ramshackle, seemingly abandoned hovel which had once housed forebears of the latest self-proclaimed Dark Lord and cautiously cast every one of the various detection charms he knew, in an effort to determine exactly how Riddle was protecting the Gaunt Family Ring which Ragnarok had identified as one of Riddle's horcruxes.

Once he had satisfied himself that he had exhausted every magical avenue of investigation he had available to him, the werewolf decided to proceed with the plan which Xander, Ron and Hermione had developed, after numerous hours of careful review and evaluation of their memories of the future. The probity probe, secrecy sensor and the dark detector he had brought with him had indicated the entire shack was concealing far too many spells and traps for his own magic to catalogue properly.

Remus shrugged off his backpack before withdrawing several of the numerous shrunken items he was carrying with him from inside it, and then he carefully set a dozen items at the base of the apple tree standing by the entrance to the concealed path he'd taken to get here. Several minutes' worth of effort enabled him to place a dozen minor wardstones inscribed with concealment runes in a rough circle about five meters beyond the walls of the decrepit cottage, and when he was done, he crouched just inside the inner perimeter of the circle as he carefully aimed his wand at the closest wardstone.

Remus intoned, "Sar!", the activation command which Hermione and Sabrina had developed for their creations. Focusing his mystical senses, the lycanthrope smiled as he felt the magical hemisphere which had formed around and above him and the cabin after uttering the ancient Sumerian word for 'Enclose.'

Satisfied now that no one from the nearby town or passing by in the general vicinity would notice any of his subsequent actions, the former DADA instructor then proceeded to retrieve the items he'd previously removed from his backpack and place them at specific points along the base of each outer wall of the hut, taking care to activate a small switch on each package before moving on the next placement.

Once he was satisfied with the positions of all twelve off-white packages, Remus repeated his actions of just a few moments earlier and then smiled with satisfaction as he again sensed the new, smaller magical half-bubble which now enclosed the decaying Gaunt shack.

Removing a small black device from his rucksack, Remus depressed the 'On' button and waited for the control device to finish warming up. Once the small red light on the switch indicated its readiness, his thumb flipped the activation toggle and he watched as the one-time Gaunt residence soundlessly exploded, the destructive force of the approximately twenty-five kilograms of C4 contained and amplified inside the magical dome transforming everything within it into rubble no longer recognizable as any sort of manmade artifact.

Pointing his wand at the hemisphere containing the debris which was all that remained of the one-time Gaunt residence, Remus commanded, "Til!", and smiled again as the dome instantly dissipated at the Mesopotamian command for 'End.'

Remus took a moment to pull on a pair of sturdy dragonhide gloves and reinforcing his occlumency shields before proceeding with the remainder of their plan.

"Accio golden box holding the Deathstone!" he commanded (hopefully) as he aimed his wand at the wreckage. The werewolf's smile expanded to seemingly stretch from ear to ear as the summoned container erupted from out of the rubble which had once been the Gaunt residence, and then turn and then flew unerringly through the air and into his waiting hand.

Quickly depositing the box inside a specially-charmed/ward-runed silk-lined dragon leather bag Sabrina had prepared for it, Remus closed and buckled the bag shut and stuffed the enchanted pouch inside his backpack before happily activating the portkey which would transport him back to Potter Manor.

There, he would deposit the newly-acquired horcrux in the family vault, along with Salazar Slytherin's locket, which had already been acquired from the Black Family's house elf, Kreacher.

Once that was accomplished, he could then proceeded onto his next task – trying to locate Bellatrix LeStrange and both of the LeStrange brothers following their escape from Azkaban, so that Ragnarok could acquire Helga Hufflepuff's cup from inside the Lestrange's Gringotts vault it was currently hidden inside.


Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
The hallway outside the Room of Requirement

September 2, 1995
Shortly after lunch

"You know, if you keep on pulling me away from our classmates every time the we have a free period, people are going to start thinking that you're only interested in me for my body," Ron observed as he led the way down the seventh floor hallway.

"Yeah, you keep telling yourself that, sweetie, and then there'll be at least one person who actually believes that," Sabrina told her fiancé with a smirk, as she reached into her Frye Logan leather shoulder bag and removed a folded piece of parchment.

"Ouch. If I didn't know better, your saying something that could make a guy think you're serious, sweetheart," Ron replied as he paused in front of a wall hanging depicting Barnabas the Barmy's futile attempt to teach trolls ballet.

"Okay, we're clear," the blonde witch announced, confirming the lack of anyone else's presence on the floor to her fiancé as she examined the Marauder's Map.

Acting on Sabrina's affirmation, Ron started pacing up and down the hallway in front of the tapestry, while muttering in a low voice, "We need to get into the Room of Hidden Things, so we can find Tommy-Boy's horcrux."

At the conclusion of the third refrain, a large wooden door appeared in the wall opposite the tapestry, and the pair of time-displaced warriors quickly hurried inside.

"Whoa! This place is even creepier than I expected, even after listening to you guys describe everything you did here," Sabrina declared as she glanced around at the looming, poorly-illuminated chamber which was filled to overflowing – almost literally – with virtually every sort of thing you could imagine.

As well as any number of things that she could never have imagined, Sabrina decided – not even in the throes of a bad fever dream.

"Yeah, you're not wrong about that, Bree," Ron agreed with a nod as he began heading down the one of the passageways formed by the seemingly endless piles of castoffs, odds and ends, junk and memorabilia stored within the Room.

"And from what I can remember from the last time we did this, I'm pretty sure the tiara should be located this way," he added, indicating, indicting the right hand passageway which branched off ahead of them.

"Ah, yes – here it is," the auburn-haired Potter sibling announced with satisfaction a few moments later as he focused his attention on an obviously well-crafted brown wooden box, which was partially hidden under a pile of worn drapes.

After first casting several of the detection spells the group now used almost reflexively, and then donning his potions class-issued dragonhide gloves, Ron carefully lifted the dusty pile of wall hangings off of the small chest and set them to one side.

While Sabrina kept a watchful eye for both unexpected visitors to the Room and any signs that her fiancée had encountered trouble, Ron cautiously opened the small chest. Much to his satisfaction, and just as expected, there was a large multi-faceted, blue stone set in a silver tiara, whose artistically-fashioned peak was worked to resemble a bird of prey.

"Oooh, it's beautiful!" Sabrina declared upon catching sight of the diadem, while also noticing a small, barely noticeable strain which had just begun pressing against her occlumency shields.

"And it's very clever, too," she noted, as Ron closed the box again and picked it up, "how Tom added that barely noticeable compulsion charm. Anyone else who found it would have admired it so much as to want to try to try it on, so that they can see how good it looks on them.

"Too bad for him how that's not going to work," Sabrina commented snarkily as she opened her shoulder bag a bit wider, and Ron very carefully slipped the horcrux inside the specially lined and reinforced container.

"C'mon, sweetie," the blonde beauty said as she re-closed her bag and started heading for the exit. "The sooner we get this back to Grimmauld Place and get back here, the better I'll like it."


Marriott Residence Inn
Sunnydale, CA

September 2, 1995

{ Now, just how in the name of Merlin am I supposed to stay close enough to Willow and Jesse to make sure that they stay safe, if I constantly have to be on guard against Sheila recognizing me? } Sirius wondered to himself as he lay on his bed and took a swig from the bottle of Stone Pale Ale in his hand.

{ Sodding hell. I can't afford to have her see me and alert the authorities, because with my luck, I'll end up getting recognized by some snot-nosed twit thanks to that notice Scotland Yard put out, and Malfoy will tell Fudge to send out a dozen aurors to find and A-K me on sight, } Harry’s godfather morosely predicted as he ignored a brightly smiling Vanna White turning yet another set of letters for some equally addlepated contestant.

The currently expatriate Lord Black's ruminations were interrupted by a polite, but insistent, knocking on his door, and a woman's voice called out:

"Sirius? Open up this door, because I'm not going away! Sirius Black, get your ass up off that bed and open this door, right this second!"

"What –?" Sirius exclaimed to himself as he threw an annoyed look at the hall door.

{ Who in the name of Merlin could be disturbing me at this hour? } Sirius grumbled to himself as he swung his feet off the bed and onto the floor, as he glanced at the foe-glass and the secrecy sensor he'd set up on the night stand.

Seeing nothing untoward in either object, he shrugged to himself and peeked through the peephole set into the door as he set his hand on the doorknob, only to grow pale and mutter, "Oh, bloody hell! Things couldn't possibly get any bloody worse!" to himself when he recognized who was standing outside his door.

The knocking was repeated yet again, only this time less politely – and so Sirius shook his head in resignation as he realized that there was no way he could put off this particular meeting, and he pasted a pleasant smile on his face as he swung open the door.

"Sheila, my dear cousin!" Lord Black greeted his long- vanished relative with the sincerity that only a true conman/Marauder could muster. Sirius tried to turn on the charm as he was confronted by the frowning, auburn-haired woman he'd seen earlier that day – and the solidly-built, also frowning, man he'd seen carrying luggage into the Rosenberg residence, whom he'd assumed was Sheila's husband.

"How delightful to finally see you again!" the head of House Black exclaimed. "And what a wonderful coincidence it is, meeting you here, so far from the old home ground…"


McNally residence
Sunnydale, CA

September 2, 1995
Late afternoon

"So, where have you been? I mean, why didn't you come home last night?" Willow demanded with a mixture of intense curiosity, worry and concern in her voice, as she stared at the tall, dark-haired youth seated on the edge of his bed. Seated on Jesse's computer desk chair, Willow could easily see the nervous and uneasy look currently affixed to her friend's face as he stared at her with some trepidation and maybe even honest confusion.

"I was really, really worried about you, you know, after your mom called me last night, asking me if I knew where you were," Willow continued in a near-babble to the only childhood friend she had who was still living in Sunnydale. "So what were you doing? Did it have something to do with Cordelia? Did something bad happen to you and you don’t want to talk about it? 'Cause you can tell me about it, Jesse! I swear, I won't tell anyone about it, if you don't want me to!"

Jesse opened his mouth, as though to answer the redhead's non-stop questions, but then hesitated and closed his mouth, biting his lower lip with indecision, before finally saying, "I'm not really sure what happened to me, Willow."

Seeing the worried and apprehensive look on Willow's face after his response, Jesse leaned forward slightly towards her, as he told her, "Like I told my folks when I finally got home this morning, the last thing I can remember before waking up on a beach ten miles up the coast, is running along Pacific Coast Highway, trying to get in shape for the cross-country team tryouts next week.

"I *think* I remember hearing a car coming up behind me as I was jogging, but then I'm not completely certain about that," the third member of the 'We Hate Cordelia' club admitted thoughtfully, a pensive expression on Jesse's face as he strained to recall any details he could concerning the incident under discussion.

"All I'm really sure of is that I woke up on the shore of the Pershing Park beach a little after dawn, and I don't have any marks on me," Jesse told the anxious redhead, a hesitant expression on his own face.

"Not even some marks I should have," McNally added in a barely audible voice that his childhood friend had to strain to hear.

"What do you mean, you don't even have some marks you should have?" Willow immediately demanded, a puzzled look on her face, as she focused a very concerned gaze on him. "What are you talking about? What kind of marks should you have that you don't have, anymore?

Jesse, you didn't get any tattoos, or anything like that, did you?" she demanded suspiciously, her eyes narrowing with disapproval at that particular thought. "They really don’t clean those needles as well as they should and you could get an infection –"

"No, Wills, I didn't get any tattoos," Jesse snorted, unleashing a laugh of genuine amusement at his friend's question and babble, before them settling back into a bit more relaxed, more thoughtful pose.

"No, what I meant was," he began explaining, "is that when I woke up this morning, I didn't have any cuts and scratches and minor dings that I did have, yesterday afternoon."

Seeing the confused look on Willow's face, Jesse asked, "You remember how Mrs. Hamilton's cat scratched up my arm last week, when I was getting it out of that tree for her last week?"

Waiting for her to nod her agreement, Jesse then held out his left arm for her to examine as he said, "Well, they're all gone, now."

"Really?" Willow's eyes widened slightly as she ran her hand along Jesse's forearm, trying to find any sign of the demented feline's attack – and failing to see any sort of blemish in the tanned skin of his arm. "Oh, wow!"

"Yeah," Jesse confirmed her question with a head nod. "And do you remember how I fell off my skateboard trying to avoid that – butthole – Percy's car on Saturday?" he quickly amended his initial word choice for describing the arrogant jock when he saw the disapproving expression in the redhead's eyes, "and how I got that *huge* scrape all up and down my back from the asphalt?"

"Yeah! You could have been really seriously hurt from that!" Willow asserted with a fierce scowl at the memory of how West had laughed at her friend's prone form as he drove past the pair.

"Well, that's gone, too," Jesse confided.

"What?! Let me see!" Willow demanded, the shock in her voice at that assertion quite clear to him. Upon hearing this claim, the redhead sprang up from her seat and practically attacked the much taller youth as she strained to pull him up and off the bed.

Somewhat bemused at Willow's behavior, Jesse allowed her to coax him up and into a standing position in front of her, before then turning around at her direction.

"Whoa! What're you doing, Wills?!" the shocked youth demanded as Jesse felt her pull his tee shirt out of his pants and yank it up and away from his skin, before then rubbing her hands all across his back.

"Oh! I – I, uh, I was just, uh, checking what you told me, Jesse," Willow stammered as she immediately took a step back from him, her eyes wide and her face flushing with a combination of embarrassment and disbelief at what she'd just done, and the surprisingly comforting reaction she'd felt upon realizing just how much she'd liked feeling his skin under her fingers.

"Uh, you – you're right, that, uh, that scrape of yours is all healed up, now," she informed Jesse haltingly. "There's no sign of it there at all, now."

For his part, Jesse was staring at the shorter redhead, his own face somewhat red, too, as he recognized that he hadn't disliked the feel of Willow's hands roaming around his back in the slightest

"Uh, I, uhm, I have to get home now!" Willow suddenly blurted out, right before she turned and darted through Jesse's bedroom door and down the stairs, leaving the big guy staring after her with a rather surprising sense of disappointment at her abrupt departure.

Neither teenager could quite believe the feelings that such an innocent act of touching had stirred up within them, especially since Jesse and Willow were both *sure* that they were in love with Cordelia and Xander, respectively.

But then, since neither of them would eventually end up together with their current crushes, such feelings were not necessarily a bad thing...


The End?

You have reached the end of "You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry" – so far. This story is incomplete and the last chapter was posted on 10 May 13.

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