The Tara Maclay Institute For Higher Learning
Disclaimer: There are going to be quite a few crossovers in this thing, so forgive me if I don't list them all. I own none of them. All stories/characters belong to their respective copyright holders. Should I actually come up with an original idea, I'm going to sell it to a publisher. This has been written for the primary purpose of keeping me entertained, since there's nothing on cable.
Spoilers: Post Chosen, Post series for Charmed, and Post Chamber of Secrets for HP. I think that does it for this chapter.
A/N: The HPVerse is being moved up by twenty years. Harry was born in the year 2000, and began attending Hogwarts in 2011.
A/N 2: Written as a response to Challenge #4042: The Rise of Professor X, from BarefootXO.
Chapter 1: The Tara Maclay Institute For Higher Learning.June 12th, 2013, Westchester, New York, 1407 Graymalkin Lane
Pushing the lever on his wheelchair, Xander led Faith, his wife and (currently) only friend in the world, into the mansion he’d purchased. “So? What do you think?”
Faith looked around. It looked a hell of a lot better than when he’d bought the place. He’d gotten his old construction crew to fix it up at cost, as a favor to the guy who’d saved their collective necks on more than one occasion.
“Not bad, X.” She shot him a grin. “I bet B would be jealous. That place they’re stayin’ in ain’t half as nice.”
He winked at her (Possibly. It was hard to tell with a man who wore an eyepatch), and wheeled himself further inside. “Considering my plans for this place, it’ll have to be nicer than their school. I’m not just going to be teaching Slayers here, though I won’t turn them away. Anyone is welcome here. Slayers, mutants, witches, demons, so long as we don’t have to kill them first, hell even regular humans. I was normal for years, so I know how dangerous they can be. We have to be top notch.”
Faith chuckled a bit at his self-reference. It was true, he had
been normal for most of his life. It wasn’t until a few years after Sunnydale that what he really was, what he’d been born to be, began to show through.
*Flashback, September, 2004, the Congo
“Hey, Xander.” Mike, one of the men who led Safaris into some of the thicker parts of the jungle, called to his friend. “What’s a ten letter word that means ‘wedding night’?”
“Copulation.” Xander answered, smirking.
Mike looked down at his crossword. “Huh. That fits. Thanks.” He filled the word in. “How about a six letter word that means hunt?”
“Ferret.” Xander said.
“Five letter word for sponge?”
“Seven letter word meaning ‘to exercise authority?’”
Mike let out a low whistle. “Damn. How’d you get so good at these things?”
Xander shrugged. “I don’t know. Ever since I came down here, I’ve been thinking a lot more clearly. And I’ve been a lot more aware.”
Mike snorted. “That happens to everyone who spends enough time here. Living in fear for your life does that to you.”
Xander frowned. He knew that Mike was right, that living in constant fear made you more aware, but he knew that because he’d lived like that every day back in Sunnyhell. This was something else. Maybe if he called Willow…Two Weeks Later
“Wow! Willow. Look at you, down here in the wild.” Xander hugged his oldest friend. “What are you doing here?”
Willow returned the hug, albeit with less enthusiasm. “Well, after I performed the long-range check-up you asked for, I thought I should come in for something a little more in-depth. And just how many hyphenated words can I fit into one sentence?” She smiled lightly.
Xander wasn’t fooled. “What’s wrong, Will?”
She grimaced. “Well, it might
be nothing. I’d rather make sure that it’s something
before I tell you.”
Xander let out a sigh. “Alright. Make with the mojo. Quick, before I come to my senses and run like a little girl.”
Willow rolled her eyes, and chanted quickly under her breath. A blue light surrounded Xander, which turned red after a few moments, then finally to gold.
Xander gulped audibly. “So? What’s the verdict?”
Willow took a deep breath. “Well, Xander, it looks like… you’re a mutant.”
Xander did a double take. “A what?”
“A mutant.” She repeated. “You know, Homo Superior
“What, like your great-uncle?” He asked.
She shrugged. “Maybe. You probably have something different than he does, though.”
“Naturally…” Xander ran his hand through his shoulder-length hair. He’d let it go during his stay in Africa. “So, what am I looking at?”
Willow looked thoughtful. “Given that your mind has been speeding up, and the results of the scan say that you’re going to become very powerful, that’s what the gold light was all about, I would guess, and that’s all this is, a guess, that you’re going to develop powerful mental abilities.” Her eyes lit up. “Hey! Maybe you’ll become psychic!”
Xander groaned. “Thanks Will. I didn’t have nearly enough jinxes on me when I woke up today.”
As it turned out, Willow had been correct. Xander had developed full-blown psychic powers not long after.
“Hey!” Xander called, distracting Faith from her thoughts. “Come on, I want to show you the kitchen! We’ve got it fully stocked!”
Faith’s stomach let out a rumble, and she chased after him. Never get between a Slayer and her food.
A little while later, the two of them were exploring the newly renovated grounds.
“So,” Faith began, “what do we got goin’ on today? Anything good?”
Xander shook his head. “Nothing planned, no. Once at least one of the instructors I hired arrives, we can start recruiting students, but for now we’re kind of stuck.”
“Then I suppose the students will just have to come to you.”
Faith, ever the Slayer, whirled around, a stake appearing in her hand. The man she saw standing behind them was easily in his sixties, so she relaxed.
Xander smirked. “I wouldn’t let my guard down around this one, Faith. He’s got more than a few tricks up his sleeve.” Xander turned his chair around. “Hello, Eric.”
Eric smiled at the younger man. “Hello, Xander. It’s been a while since I heard from you, or Willow for that matter. I trust you had good reason?”
“Demon hunting. Tends to eat up your time.” Xander replied.
Eric chuckled. “That it does.” He noticed the ring on Xander’s hand. “You’re married?”
Xander grinned, taking Faith’s hand. “Drunken Vegas thing. Though, we’ve learned to not ignore coincidence. Especially drunken coincidence. Everything happens for a reason.”
Eric merely continued to chuckle.
“Alright.” Xander shifted forward. “You wouldn’t come here unless you already knew what I was doing with the place. What can we do for you?”
Eric smiled slyly. “Are you sneaking around in my mind?”
Xander shook his head. “Don’t have to. I learned enough about you from all the times you visited Willow. You’re a chess player. Always fifteen moves ahead.”
Eric chuckled again. “Very well. I’m here because I wish for my children to receive an education.”
Xander nodded. “You’re pretty damn rich, from what I recall. You could send them anywhere. Why here?”
Eric winced. “My son… He’s something of a trouble maker. And since he’s a mutant, most schools cannot handle him. Add in that I would prefer they stay together…”
Xander nodded. “I get it. Alright, give me a rundown on them.”
Eric gave him a thankful look. “My son, Pietro, is… what does one call someone who is extremely fast?”
“A speedster.” Xander said.
“Ah. Appropriate. Well, at last measurement, he was capable of running at mach 2. My first daughter, Pietro’s twin, is named Wanda. She has limited control over reality.”
Xander did a double take. “Would you care to repeat that?”
Eric smirked. “She is able to alter reality to a small degree. Her ‘hex bolts’ as she calls them, can alter the fate of a specific object or person.”
Xander rubbed his nose. “Fantastic… Any more?”
“Just one.” Eric smiled at him. “Lorna. She has abilities similar to mine, though her mutation has caused her hair, eyes, and curiously enough her lips, to turn green. She is, perhaps, the calmest of the three, as well as the youngest. The twins are 16, while she is 14.”
“Alright.” Xander nodded. “Well, since I know you can pay tuition, I’ll be charging you.” He smirked.
Eric just looked amused. “How much?”
“$200,000 per student for every semester.”
Faith looked at him in surprise. “What the hell?! How’d you figure that?!”
Xander shrugged. “Simple. We’ll encounter a good deal of mutants who are on the run. We’ll need money to take care of them, not to mention the repairs we’ll no doubt have to put up with.” He smirked. “Remember Slayer school? That place had more holes in it than retconned comic book history.”
Faith snickered at the memory. “That’s true. But, can’t you just use your share of the Watchers Council money?”
Xander’s smile only seemed to increase. “I’m afraid not. I’ve got plans for that…” He drifted off for a moment, before snapping back. “Anyway, you think you can handle that, Mr. Lehnsherr?”
Eric’s smirk wasn’t as wide, but was no less effective. “I think something can be arranged. And, in the interests of school spirit, I’ll donate a few million for a… scholarship fund. Yes, I believe that will do.”
Xander eyed the old man carefully. ‘Always fifteen moves ahead. He wants me to owe him.
’ After a moment, he finally nodded. “Sounds good, Eric. I hope you can come by for a game once in a while.”
Eric nodded. “I look forward to it. My children will be along before the week is out.” He tipped his hat to the young couple. “Good luck to the two of you.” With that, he flew away.
Faith shook her head. “Damn. He can fly? And his daughter does the same thing?”
Xander shook his head. “His power isn’t flight. He has control over magnetic fields.”
Faith looked confused. “Then how…?”
Xander shrugged. “He tried to explain it to me once, but I never got it. Something about hyper-magnetism.”
“Huh.” Faith grinned. “Sweet.”
*** The Following Day, 10 AM
Xander and Faith were sharing breakfast, when the doorbell chimed.
Xander looked at Faith. “You get it.”
She snorted. “You get it.”
“You can walk.”
“You don’t have to.”
“I made breakfast.”
“I’m gonna be doin’ the dishes.”
Xander was quiet for a moment, before looking triumphant. “It’s my school.”
Faith just smirked. “If you get rid of whoever it is, I’ll give you a quickie.”
Xander was out of the room as fast as the motor on his chair would carry him.
The front door was wrenched open quickly. “Yeah, whaddya wa— Oh! Dr. McCoy!”
A man with blue fur smiled down at the telepath. “Good morning, Mr. Harris. May I come in?”
Smirking, Xander backed away from the door.
McCoy stepped inside. “Quite lovely architecture, I must say. Did you have a hand in it?”
Xander nodded. “Yeah. I designed most of the new interior. The crew that built it did a first-class job.” He led McCoy further inside. “You’re the first of the teachers to arrive, by the way. I’m expecting the others soon.”
“Oh? How many have you arranged for?”
Xander counted it up quickly in his head. “Counting you, six. I haven’t gotten much in the way of electives yet, but I can teach architecture and shop myself. Not to mention what I can teach about cars and motorcycles.”
The two of them entered the dining room, where Faith was clearing the table. She looked up, nearly jumping out of her skin when she saw Dr. McCoy. “Jeez, Xand! Give a gal a little warning!”
Xander grinned unrepentantly. “Sorry. Babe, this is Dr. Hank McCoy. Doctor, this is my wife, Faith.”
McCoy held out his hand, smiling. “Hello. You may call me Beast.”
Faith shook his hand. “Beast?”
He nodded. “It’s my post-human name. It’s something of a tradition among mutants. We give ourselves a different name, something that applies to our mutation, or perhaps some part of our personality.”
Faith seemed intrigued by the idea. “I like that. Maybe we should do somethin’ like that? With the students, I mean.”
Xander shrugged. “Sure, why not? Hell, with everyone. Staff included.”
“Well, alright.” Faith grinned. “What’re ya gonna call yourself?”
Xander tilted his head to one side, thinking. “I’m not sure… We’ll come up with something.” He looked at her. “What about you?”
She thought for a moment, before a look of… not happiness
, exactly, but reserved contentment, settled on her face. “Deathstrike.”
Xander winced. “Are you sure about that?”
She nodded. “Some things shouldn’t be forgotten, ya know?”
Xander nodded, a sad look on his face. “Alright, my Lady Deathstrike. If that’s your choice.”
Beast cleared his throat uncomfortably. “While I imagine there’s quite
a story behind that name, perhaps there are other things that should be focused on?”
Xander’s eye lit up. “You’re right! It’s time to start recruiting students. Faith, I need you to get us two tickets on the next plane to England. I kept a list of eligible recruits when we left. Hopefully, the Council hasn’t gotten to all of them. Beast, you’re going to help me pack.”
Both of them looked at him blankly.
“Well, come on! Let’s do it!”
Faith raised an eyebrow.
“Or, you know… we could not…” Xander shrunk into his chair.
Faith snorted. “Beast, you
call the airport. I’ll
go pack. No offense, but you might get fur in my thong.”
“May I ask you a question?”
Xander looked up from his desk. He’d been copying down the names and addresses of people he wanted to talk to. “Sure, Beast. What can I do for you?”
Beast walked into the office, sitting down. “Well, I was just wondering, why are you married to a woman so much younger than yourself?”
Xander snickered. “You’re not the first person to ask me that. Faith is only a year younger than I am.”
Beast was shocked. “What?! But, she looks…”
“Like she’s in her early twenties?” Xander finished. “Yeah, I know.”
“Is she a mutant?” Beast asked. “A healing factor would explain that.”
Xander shook his head. “No. She’s not a mutant. She’s a Slayer.” Beast’s questioning look caused Xander to sigh. “Alright, without going into too much detail, which is just boring, her body is mystically enhanced. She has the strength, speed, agility, etc. of about ten men. And no Slayers I’ve met age past their twenties. It’s very weird.”
Beast nodded. “I imagine it is.” He was silent for a moment, before asking, “Mystically enhanced?”
“What, you don’t believe in magic?” Xander asked.
“I’ve never seen magic.” Beast said.
“Well, I have.” Xander leaned back in his chair. “Too much of it. Believe me, it exists. In fact, some of our students will be studying magic. Three of our instructors are coming in for that purpose.”
“Three?” Beast asked. “Out of six
Xander nodded. “Yep. We’re offering a complete education, Dr. McCoy, but that’s not our primary function. We’re here to train the next generation of hunters.” He went back to his list. “Is there anything else? I still need to get ready.”
Beast thought for a moment. “Should I make any special preparations for magical injuries?”
“Exhaustion.” Xander replied. “Nine times out of ten, the only thing we have to worry about is someone casting to the point of fainting.”
Nodding, the blue mutant stood, and left. This would certainly be an interesting position…
*** The Following Day, Kent, England
“This the place, X?”
“It is, Faith.” Xander wheeled forward. When he got to the door, he cursed softly. “I can’t reach the bell…”
Laughing softly, Faith pressed the doorbell, listening to the chime as it went out. A moment later, a rather attractive woman opened the door. She seemed surprised to have visitors. “Can I help you?”
“Mrs. Granger.” Xander greeted her. “My name is Alexander Harris. This is my assistant, Faith. I’m here with an offer for your daughter.”
“What kind of offer?” Mrs. Granger asked.
Xander could sense that she was suspicious of him. He’d have to tread lightly. “An offer for school. My school, to be exact.”
“Hermione’s already attending school.” Mrs. Granger replied. She seemed to be skirting around something.
Xander chuckled. “Yes. Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry.” Seeing her shocked response, he continued. “I’m well aware of the place. I’m also aware of things that they lack as far as a curriculum. I’m offering Hermione an alternative.”
Nodding slowly, Mrs. Granger stepped aside. “Please, come in.”
Wheeling forward, Xander gave his host a warning look. “You shouldn’t do that.”
“Do what?” she asked, confused.
“Invite people inside. Especially
after dark. It could be a vampire. They can’t enter a dwelling without a spoken or written invitation.”
“Written?” she asked.
“A welcome mat.” He explained.
“Oh.” She frowned. “I’m surprised Hermione didn’t tell me about that.”
“She probably didn’t know.” Xander said, wheeling into the living room. “Wizarding society doesn’t really recognize them as a threat, since most homes in their little world are warded against dark creatures. They forget that we poor Muggles don’t always have that advantage.”
“I see.” Mrs. Granger’s frown deepened. “I’ll go get my husband and daughter. Excuse me.” She left the room.
Faith pulled one of the chairs closer to Xander. “Think they’ll go for it?”
“Mrs. Granger seems to be responding. I think the bit about vampires turned her off to Dumbledore’s cult.”
Faith snickered. “You really shouldn’t call ‘em that.”
Xander shrugged. “Why not? It’s accurate. The whole society follows him around like they’ve got rings in their noses.”
Faith rolled her eyes, but didn’t press the issue.
A moment later, the Granger family entered the room. Mr. Granger gave Xander an evaluating look. “What the hell happened to you?”
Both Hermione and Mrs. Granger looked like they were about to die from embarrassment, but Xander began laughing. “I spent some time in Africa.” He answered. It was technically true, even if his injuries hadn’t been accrued there, as a whole.
“Oh? Doing what?” The Granger Patriarch asked.
“Relief work, mostly. Giving medicine and food to those who needed it. Although, I have to admit, those soldiers can be real assholes sometimes. Got into more fights there than I ever did in high school. And trust me, that’s saying something.”
Mr. Granger broke into a smile. “My kind of man.” He sat down. “Now, what’s this school going to offer my daughter that Hogwarts doesn’t?”
“Do you want a brochure, or the quick version?” Xander asked.
“The quick version, please.”
“Alright. Aside from a magical education, which we do
teach, we’ll be teaching everything else that Hogwarts seems to have forgotten. Mathematics, the sciences, literature, history outside
the Wizarding world. Our instructors can teach these things up to University level.”
“What about practical things?” Mr. Granger asked.
“I’ll be teaching shop, architecture, and automobile maintenance myself.” Xander answered.
“Aren’t shop and ‘automobile maintenance’ the same thing?” Mr. Granger asked.
Xander shook his head. “Hardly. I’m talking about knowing enough about cars to build one from scratch, if need be. Before my back was injured, the organization I worked for needed several custom vehicles to be built. I built them, and even managed to make smaller vehicles from the spare parts. Trust me, it’s very
Mr. Granger nodded, and turned to his daughter. “What do you think, Dear?”
Xander looked at Hermione as well. He could see the intelligence behind her eyes. She was going over every option in her head, possibly several times. Smart girl.
“Can I speak to Mr. Harris alone, please?”
“Are you sure?” Mrs. Granger asked.
Hermione nodded. “Yes. There are a few things I need to ask him.”
The two parents exchanged looks, and left the room, Faith close behind them.
Xander smiled at the girl. “Alright. What do you need to know?”
The young witch shifted in her seat, getting comfortable. “First of all, how much does this cost?”
“The same as Hogwarts.” Xander said. “I checked. They’re fairly expensive, it seems.”
“So are you.” She retorted. “Are you going to offer all the same magical courses as Hogwarts?”
“Everything except Divination and Magical History.” he answered. “Although, the lesson structure will be different from what you’re used to. We only have three instructors for all the subjects, and far fewer students.”
She nodded. “Alright. Then I’ve made my decision.”
His eyebrows shot up. “So quickly?”
She shrugged. “Honestly, I’ve been seeking alternatives for almost a year. Two years at Hogwarts has shown me where they’re lacking. I’ll attend, on one condition.”
“A condition?” Xander repeated, smirking. “You’re a bold one. Alright, what’s the condition?”
“That you offer Harry Potter and Ronald Weasley a place at your school.” She answered. “I assume this is a boarding school, given that you have an American accent and would most likely base yourself from there. Harry’s relatives, whom he lives with, abuse him horribly. I want him out of there.”
Xander frowned, and checked his list. One of those names was familiar… “Ah. Here it is. Harry Potter. He was actually my next stop.” He nodded. “If you’ll give me Mr. Weasley’s address, that won’t be a problem, Ms. Granger.”
She smiled. “Alright then, Mr. Harris. Expect me to be there on September 1st.”
He returned the smile. “Excellent.”
*** One Hour Later, Privet Drive
Xander adjusted the tie on his suit as Faith rang the doorbell on Number 4. He’d done a cursory examination of Vernon Dursley’s mind, and he knew this wasn’t going to be easy.
A large, purple-faced man answered the door. “What do you want?” He demanded.
Xander cleared his throat. “Mr. Vernon Dursley? My name is Alexander Harris. I’m here with an offer for your nephew.”
Vernon growled. “I don’t have a nephew.” He said coldly.
Xander raised an eyebrow. “I beg to differ. Harry Potter. I know he lives here, and I’m not leaving until I’ve had a chance to speak with him.”
Vernon sneered at him. “And what are you
going to do about it?”
Xander gave him a shiver-inducing smile. “Nothing. Not a damn thing. I’ll let her
handle it.” He nodded toward Faith, who was idly playing with a dagger.
Vernon blanched (which gave him a normal complexion), and nodded, stepping aside.
Smiling, Xander entered the house, Faith behind him.
“BOY!” Vernon roared up the stairs. “Come down here! There’s someone to see you!” He glared at the pair in front of him. “Don’t take long. I’ve company coming in an hour.”
Xander nodded. “Don’t worry. This should be finished by then.”
Grunting, Vernon left.
A moment later, a young man, with green eyes, raven-black hair, and a lightning-bolt scar above his right eye, entered the living room. “Um… hello. You wanted to speak to me?”
Xander nodded. “Yes, Harry. Sit down.”
Harry took a seat on the couch.
“First of all, Harry, I want to assure you that I am well aware of the magical world, so you shouldn’t feel the need to keep their secrets in front of me.”
Harry looked surprised. “Are you a Wizard?”
Grinning, Xander shook his head. “No. Just well-informed. I’m here for two reasons. First, because I want to offer you a place at my school. And second, because a young lady asked me to.”
“Hermione?” Harry guessed.
Xander nodded. “Yes. She’s already agreed to attend, on the condition that I offer both you and one Ronald Weasley positions at the Institute. You were already on my list of potential students, so it isn’t too far out of my way.”
“Where is this school?” Harry asked.
“America. The state of New York, specifically. This is our first year of open classes, so our student body is rather small at the moment.”
“How small?” was Harry’s next question.
“Assuming you and Mr. Weasley agree to attend, six so far. Three mutants, and the three of you.”
“Mutants?” Harry looked impressed.
“Oh, yes.” Xander nodded. “We’ll be teaching just about anyone we can. Besides…” Xander’s mouth stopped moving. ‘We freaks have to stick together.
Harry’s eyes nearly popped out of his skull. “Was… Was that you?” he asked softly.
‘Of course it was.
’ Xander grinned. ‘It certainly wasn’t Bugs Bunny. “Eh, what’s up, doc?”
Harry laughed. “Alright.” He glanced into the next room, where his relatives were pretending not to listen. “Will I have to come back here for the summer?”
Xander shook his head. “Absolutely not. You’re welcome to stay at the institute. We have more than enough room.”
Harry’s eyes lit up. “Really? Then I want to go! As soon as possible!”
Xander nodded. “Alright, then. I’m sure your aunt and uncle won’t mind?”
Harry shook his head. “Not at all.”
“Good. Then go pack.” As Harry shot up the stairs, Xander went to speak to the boy’s guardians. “Well, that was productive. Can I assume you have no objection?”
Vernon grunted. “None at all. You can have
“Excellent. Then you won’t mind signing guardianship over to me?”
Vernon looked almost orgasmic at the prospect. “Absolutely! I’ll just call my solicitor…”
“Don’t bother.” Xander produced a file. “This contains all the necessary papers. Just sign them, and file them with your courts. You can have someone look over them, if you wish, but I promise, I’m not screwing you over.”
Vernon wasn’t listening. He’d grabbed the papers as soon as he knew what they were, and was signing as quickly as possible.
Xander rolled his eye. Some people…
Harry came downstairs, carrying a trunk, and an owl in a cage. “I’m ready!”
Faith spotted the trunk, and went to help. “Here. Let me get that for ya. Looks heavy.” With little effort, she hefted it onto her shoulder.
Xander snickered at Harry’s surprised expression. “She does that a lot, Mr. Potter. You’ll get used to it.”
*** One More Hour Later, The Burrow
“Last stop of the day.” Xander rolled up to the tower-like house. “Let’s hope this one goes as well as the others.”
“No kiddin’.” Faith grinned. “Where’d you learn to sound all official-like, anyway?”
“Recruiting Slayers.” Xander grinned back. “People seemed to respond to the ‘sir and ma’am’ routine.”
Faith shrugged, and turned to the door. Seeing no bell, she knocked. A plump woman answered. “Yes?”
“Mrs. Weasley?” Xander asked. “Good afternoon. My name is Alexander Harris. I’m here with an offer for your son, Ronald.”
“Oh?” She stepped aside. “Well, come in!”
Smiling, Xander entered the house.
“So, what kind of offer is it?” She asked, sitting at the kitchen table. “Quidditch? He’s always wanted to play professionally…”
Xander positioned himself across from her. “No, Mrs. Weasley. I don’t represent a Quidditch team. I wish to offer him a place at my school.”
This obviously surprised the witch, and a somewhat cool expression crossed her face. “A school? Ron already attends Hogwarts.”
Xander nodded. “I’m aware of that. Two of my new students have attended Hogwarts for two years. However, I convinced them that the Maclay Institute had more to offer. We teach a more thorough curriculum.”
Mrs. Weasley’s eyes narrowed. “I won’t have my son attending anywhere besides Hogwarts. Albus Dumbledore is the greatest headmaster that school has ever seen, and Ron is doing very well there, thank you very much! Now, please leave!”
Xander scanned Mrs. Weasley’s thoughts lightly, before nodding. “As you wish. The offer is open ended, should you change your mind.” He wheeled out the door.
Faith winced as the door was slammed behind them. “Well, ain’t she a bitch?”
Xander shook his head. “Not a bitch. Not really. Just programmed to follow someone blindly.”
Faith snorted. “Yeah. You weren’t wrong about this Dumbledore cat. What next?”
“Well, I—” Xander stopped short when he spotted someone in their path. It was a girl, with platinum blond hair, and gray eyes. Xander blinked in surprise. “Hello. Can I help you with something?”
She looked at him, a glazed look in her eyes. “You’re the new professor. The one from America.”
He shrugged. “I don’t know how accurate the ‘professor’ bit is, but yeah, I’m from America, and I’m here recruiting for my school. How’d you know that?”
She smiled. “I had a feeling. My feelings usually turn out to be fairly accurate. I wish to attend your Institute. Is there a position available?”
Xander looked at the girl, trying to get a bead on her mind. It wasn’t there. He knew she was in front of him, but he couldn’t sense her thoughts. That was certainly different.
Finally, he nodded. “If your parents agree, you’re more than welcome.”
She smiled. “I was almost sure you’d say that. Come, we’ll speak to my father.” She began skipping down the path.
“Who are you?” Xander asked as he and Faith followed her.
“Most call me Loony.” She said over her shoulder. “But you can call me Luna Lovegood.”
Xander cracked his neck as he and Faith flew home. “Well, that was fun.” He said dryly.
Faith smirked at him. “Not lovin’ the job, X?”
He gave her a playful punch on the arm. “Ha ha. It’s not that. It’s just, despite what you may think, recruiting is exhausting.
I had the same problem with Slayers. The stress is getting to me in my old age.”
She laughed, laying her head on his shoulder. “You ain’t that
old. If you were, would I be hangin’ around?”
He pouted. “I’d like to think so… I’m so entertaining, after all.”
She rolled her eyes. “Like how you can inhale a Twinkie? Yeah. Barnum and Bailey class show right there.”
His hand flew to his chest. “You wound me with your words.”
She laughed again. “Well, at least it’s over.”
“Yep. Till tomorrow, anyway.”
She sat up. “Tomorrow?”
“Yeah.” He nodded. “I’ve got an appointment at Oakfield Orphanage. A pair of brothers I’m going to adopt.”
Her shoulders slumped. “Ugh. More of ‘em…”
He rubbed her back. “It’ll be okay. I’ve stretched the rest of our recruitment schedule out over the summer. These brothers needed to be dealt with quickly, though.”
She nodded slowly. “Alright. What’re their names?”
“Scott and Alex Summers.” He winked at her. “No relation to the blonde Skeletor.”
She snorted. “Good. Maybe they won’t be so high and mighty…”
“One can only hope.”
*** The Institute
“Hey, X?” Faith asked as she got out of the van they’d left at the airport.
“What are those guys doin’ to the front lawn?”
Xander looked, seeing several construction crews digging the grounds up. “Oh. They’re installing a few things.”
“Like what?” she asked.
“Oh, medical facilities, a laboratory or two, a training room. Things like that.”
She gave him a shocked look. “What?”
He grinned. “Remember when I said I had plans for my share of the money we got from taking over the old Watchers Council? That 150 billion
dollars that I never touched for ten years, letting it accrue interest? You’re looking at said plans. It should all be ready by September.”
Faith let out a soft whistle. “How much is it costin’ ya?”
“Enough to buy a few small countries.” Xander said, grinning. “But, it’ll all be worth it. We’re going to have the best of everything.”
“Ain’t that the truth…” Faith shook her head. “Damn. You don’t half ass things, do ya?”
His grin widened. “Only paperwork, and I don’t think that counts.”
Xander slept till noon the next day. His appointment with the orphanage wasn’t until three, so he had time. When he awoke, there was a new arrival at the Institute. Or rather, three.
“Ladies.” Xander smiled as he greeted his magic instructors. “I’m glad you’re here.”
Piper Halliwell, Phoebe Halliwell, and Paige Matthews all smiled in return. “We’re happy to help.” Piper said. “Our families are still packing up our manor. They should be here in a few days.”
Xander nodded. “Good, good. You’ll have to forgive the crews outside. They’re pretty important.”
“We know.” Phoebe said, grinning. “I shook one of their hands. All that equipment they’re installing looks pretty impressive when it’s done.”
Xander chuckled. “Glad to hear it. Well, your rooms are all ready. They’re on the second floor, in the east wing. Your names are next to the doors.” He yawned. “Oy. Sorry, but it was a long day yesterday, and today doesn’t promise to be any better.”
“Mr. Harris!” Harry came into the room. “Have you seen the size of my bedroom? It’s huge!”
Xander laughed. “Yes, as a matter of fact I have seen it. I’m familiar with every piece of this mansion, with one exception.”
“What’s that?” Harry asked.
“The ladies room.” Xander smirked.
The witches snickered, while Harry tried to suppress a grin.
“Anyway,” Xander turned to the Charmed Ones. “Ladies, this is Harry Potter. He’ll be one of your students. Harry, this is Piper and Phoebe Halliwell, and their half sister, Paige Matthews. They’ll be your magic teachers.”
Harry nodded politely. “Hello. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
They returned the greeting, and were interrupted when Faith called after Xander. “Yo, X! Get a move on! You’ve still gotta shower, and you know how long that
“Sure thing, Deathstrike!” He called back.
“Er, Deathstrike?” Harry asked.
Xander nodded. “Her post-human name. It’s a thing around here. Your math and science teacher is called Beast.”
Harry frowned. “Why?”
Xander grinned, just barely keeping his laughter in check. “You’ll understand when you meet him.”
Harry nodded. “Will I have to have one?”
“Well, you don’t have
to. Though, if you don’t pick one out, you’re more than likely to get one pinned to you.” Xander warned the boy. “Mutants in particular prefer to use those names.”
“Oh.” Harry nodded thoughtfully. “Alright. I’ll have to think about it.”
“Sure, sure.” Xander patted Harry’s shoulder. “You’ve got time.”
“And us?” Paige asked.
Xander shrugged. “Like I said, if you don’t pick one, you’re likely to receive one regardless. Now, if you’ll excuse me…” He wheeled away.
“So, who else are we gettin’ to teach?” Faith asked as she helped Xander out of his clothes.
“Two people I met in Africa.” Xander said, taking his shirt off. “Ororo Monroe, who holds degrees in history, literature, and the social sciences, and Logan, a guy I met in one of the villages.”
“Logan?” She asked, lifting him into the tub. “No last name?”
“None that he recalls. He’s one of the most skilled fighters I’ve ever met, though. I’m pretty sure he could wipe the floor with Buffy in a straight fight.”
Faith was impressed. “Damn. What part of Africa’s he from?”
“He’s not. He’s Canadian. He was there visiting a shaman. He lost his memory a couple decades ago.”
Faith shook her head, and turned the water on. “You know some weird people, X.” Her eyes lit up. “Hey! I got a name for ya!”
“Oh?” Xander looked up, interested. “What?”
“Well, that girl called you a professor, right?”
“Yeah.” He nodded.
She grinned. “We’ll just call ya Professor X!”