Under the Hot African SunAuthor:
Xander, OFC (young slayer), Bill Weasley, Fleur, Victoire (daughter)Word Count:
The characters and stories of Harry Potter and Buffy the Vampire Slayer belong to their respective creators and ownersSummary:
Xander runs into trouble in EgyptWarning:
Slight spoilers for HP: OotPAuthor's notes:
Thanks to a little bit of research, I determined that in 2004 when Xander was about 23 and recruiting slayers in Africa, Billl was about 34 (about 6 years after the events in Deathly Hallows), and his daughter Victoire would be about three years old. I know he probably wasn’t still doing curse-breaking for Gringott’s, but I decided he would be doing it part-time anyway.
After more than a year searching for slayers in Africa, Xander was often struck by surprise when he caught a glance of himself in a mirror. It didn’t happen often -mirrors were in short supply in the small villages he visited- but every once in a while he had to go into the city and a stranger would peer back at him from behind the glass.
He’d lost the weight he’d put on those last couple of years in Sunnydale, and then some. He was whipcord thin now, with hard, lean muscles. Day after day in the harsh African sun had deepened his California tan to a dark, earth brown. His hair, kept fairly short for his whole life, was now tied at the nape of his neck, and braided down to his shoulder blades.
Combined with his worn black eye-patch, and his simple, thread-bare clothing, he looked so different from the boy he had been in Sunnydale that the one time he’d met up with the rest of the Scoobies, they hadn’t recognized him at the airport, even when he came right up to them. The whole visit had felt awkward and stilted and he wasn’t sure if they would ever get their easy camaraderie back. He wasn’t that person anymore.
For all that he looked scarier and more dangerous than he ever had before, he’d found the slayers and their families were much more likely to trust him than they had when he had been an overweight, out-of-shape, pale American. Learning had never been his strength, but he’d learned enough of a few key languages –Arabic, Swahili, a few others – to get his point across and when that failed, he’d gotten pretty good at doing his little speech with hand gestures.
Egypt was in an in-between zone, normally handled by the watchers in Europe or Asia, but this time he’d happened to be in Libya, and it wasn’t a big deal for him to drive his jeep through the night –he did as many things at night as humanly possible, despite the dangers – across the border to Qasr Farafra, only two hundred miles from the Libyan border.
He found the appropriate village and the fourteen year-old girl he’d been searching for with relatively little trouble –these days, he was pretty good at it. Her parents were like many Xander had encountered in Africa and remembered the stories told by their parents and grandparents about the old ones and the spirit, borne from the earth, that fought them.
That should’ve been that, and the girl should have been on a plane to England by the end of the day. The girl in question, Seshafi –which, ironically, meant ‘angry woman’ – flat out refused to leave. Xander eventually figured out that something had been attacking Seshafi’s small village at night, eating livestock and destroying homes. She was the only one who had gotten close enough to see it, but Xander couldn’t identify the demon or animal by her confusing and broken description. He had no choice but to stay the night and hope that the mysterious animal showed, and that the two of them could handle it on their own.
When night came, so did the demon, just as Seshafi predicted. It was definitely not a regular animal; it was about the size of a person, but with thick, leathery skin, and four arms, each ending in hands with long sharp claws. It was strong, but also clumsy and not very fast. Xander thanked every deity he could think of. Buffy could have dispatched the demon without even getting her boots dirty, but Seshafi didn’t have her experience or training. She was certainly strong enough, but it was Xander shooting a crossbow bolt in its eye that finally turned the battle in their favor.
When the demon lay on the ground, Seshafi turned to him, grinning proudly, so she didn’t see the demon push itself up from the ground and move to swipe at her. Xander launched himself at the young girl, pushing her out of the way as he felt four lines of fire explode across his side and down his back. He focused on standing up while the young slayer made sure it was dead this time. All he could feel were the burning slices on his back and his blood on fire running through his veins.
“Poison!” he gasped, doubled over. “…Magic….”
Seshafi slung his arm over her shoulder –awkward as it was, since he was a good two feet taller than her – and began to help him stumble in the opposite direction of her village. “I know man can fix,” she said, stumbling over the unfamiliar words. “Nice man. Magic man. This way.”
It was all Xander could do to stay on his feet; he had no energy to spare to wonder about where they headed. After what felt like hours, but couldn’t have been, judging by the sky, they came to a small wooden house set in the hard clay ground. Seshafi rapped on the door anxiously, still supporting most of Xander’s weight. He could hear her rapid, worried voice, but he couldn’t make out the individual words. Vaguely he thought that this should probably bother him, but the exhaustion and pain were clouding his head and making it difficult to think.
Then he was being gently laid on a soft bed, and a kind face looked down at him. Seshafi had brought him to a man, older than him, with laugh lines that crinkled around bright blue eyes. “I need you to tell me,” the man was saying. He had a deep voice with a lilting British accent. “What scratched you? Do you know its name?”
He didn’t, of course, but he tried his best to describe it. He must have succeeded because the man’s eyes lit up suddenly in recognition. He spoke a few words over his shoulder, and Seshafi appeared with a damp cloth that she used to wipe his face. “He say you be fine. Sleep now. Better soon.” Then as if her words had been what he was waiting for, all the fight left his body and he succumbed to sleep at last.
He did not know how long he slept, but when he woke, sunlight was streaming into the small cabin. A quick look around failed to reveal Seshafi, but as he moved, the man came to stand by the bed.
“Hey there,” he said. “How are you feeling?”
Xander took a second to take stock of his body. He could definitely feel the slices where the beast’s claws had caught him, but now they felt like normal wounds, rather than the burning lines of fire they’d been before.
“Much better,” he said, sitting up. “Where’s Seshafi?” he asked, worried about the young girl.
“My wife brought our daughter down,” he answered. “They’re playing outside. My name’s Bill Weasley,” he said, extending his hand.
“Xander Harris,” he supplied in return. He checked out his rescuer. Bill Weasley had long hair, done back in a braid similar to his, but instead of dark curls he had straight, fiery hair that hung halfway down his back. He too was tan from the sun, but not as dark as Xander, and he had an explosion of freckles across his face. He was tall and fairly thin, but his most defining characteristic was three parallel scars that ran from his temple to his chin on the left side of his face, their angry red colour contrasting harshly with his skin.
He stretched a little, testing the give of the wounds. “It feels like you did a good job. How did you know what to do?” he asked curiously.
“I do work as a curse-breaker –part-time, these days – but I’ve gotten pretty good at cures and antidotes over the years. And my brother Charlie works with dragons and some other magical creatures, so I picked up a lot of stuff from him too.” He helped Xander get up from the bed, and from there he managed to move around on his own, grabbing some clean clothes from him pack –which Seshafi must have picked up from the village.
“I really appreciate your help,” he said sincerely.
“It was no problem,” he said, colouring a little. “I’m just glad I was here. Since Victoire was born, I spend a lot less time working away from home.”
Just as he finished speaking, a beautiful woman with long blond hair came in, holding a sleepy little girl with Seshafi trailing in behind her.
“Xander!” Seshafi explained, running to his side to give him a careful hug. “I tell you, magic man!” she said, grinning.
He smiled back. He could always tell the ones who would make it as a slayer, and Seshafi had all the right signs. He turned to Bill, who had taken the little girl –Victoire – from his wife to rock her to sleep. He picked up his bag and extended his hand. “It was a pleasure to meet you,” he said. “Thank you again.”
Bill grinned, awkwardly shaking his hand without losing his grip on his slumbering daughter. “My pleasure, mate.”
He tipped his head to the woman. “Your husband is a wonderful man.”
She looked at Bill adoringly. “I know,” she said, her voice light and musical with a telling French accent.
He gathered Seshafi and as they headed back to the village to collect his jeep, he thought maybe he would accompany the slayer to England this time. They may not be perfect, but he missed his family.