Disclaimer: I own nothing but the plotline contained in this story. I will make no money from this, and no copyright infringement is intended. It is solely for entertainment value.
Lucius frowned at the owl winging towards him. There was only one person he could think of that would be sending anything to him at the moment, and the whole issue surrounding that was something he would simply rather not deal with at the moment. A bloody watcher! That Pansy Parkison
of all people had supposedly been 'chosen' was beyond ridiculous. Wasn't there some kind of failsafe? Why would the daughter of someone like the Parkinsons be called to be such an historically staunch figure against the dark? It made absolutely no sense. It would be like his
daughter being chosen -- if he had one. The only explanation he could come up with was that it was some kind of ruse; though, to what effect he had no clue. He knew the Parkinsons were all for the match between their daughter and his son.
The owl dropped the letter on his desk in front of him, immediately circling and flying back out without so much as waiting to see if he might wish to send a response. He huffed. Badly trained owl!
He sneered as he flipped the parchment over and noticed the large ornate W on the seal. It put him immediately in mind of the Weasleys, which did nothing to put him in a better mood. He just hoped the idiot assigned to 'watch' the Parkinson girl was going to be reasonable. The agreement between their two families was of long standing duration, having been enacted before either child had made their appearance -- contingent, of course, on the children being of the proper gender for such an agreement.
Pushing aside his distaste for the moment, he slit open the seal and unrolled the parchment.
Greetings Mr. Lucius Malfoy;
In response to your missive of August 21st, I will begin by saying that, yes, Miss Pansy Parkinson has, indeed, been chosen as a slayer. As such, all previous contracts, regardless of their form or method, are null and void. As her watcher, I have assumed the responsibility of head of house for her, and will entertain any such petitions as would ordinarily be the responsibility of her father.
Yours with sincerity,
Alexander LaVelle Harris
Lucius fumed. It was a bloody marriage contract, not some inane employment contract. Surely being a slayer
wouldn't preclude marrying. It was the duty of every pureblood witch to marry and birth appropriate offspring with which to carry on the traditions of their world. With a sigh, he shook his head. Apparently, the watcher wasn't
going to be reasonable. The contract he'd had with the Parkinsons had been very much to his liking, and he was sure that he wasn't going to get as good a contract from some foreign, trumped up, wet behind the ears, muggle
He swiftly pulled out two rolls of parchment and set to writing. Minutes later, he sent the first missive off with his house elf with instructions to have it delivered to his solicitor. Breach of contract was the least that watcher
was going to have to deal with. That taken care of, he carefully thought how to word his next letter.
Before he could truly get it started, however, he was startled by the sudden reappearance of a house elf. "What?" he snarled.
"Please forgives Macky for disturbing master."
"Yes, yes, get on with it elf, before I decide you need to punish yourself."
"Master Parkinson is waitings to speak to master on the floo in the greetings room."
"Very well, off with you, elf. I will be there presently."
"Yes master," Macky replied, disappearing with a snap of his fingers.
Setting aside the letter he still needed to write, Lucius rose and strode out of his study. He supposed it was just as well that Patrick had floo called. He would need to know what the man's plan was in regard to his daughter before he could decide on a final course of action.
"Patrick," he greeted regally as he knelt next to the fireplace. "It is fortuitous that you've called."
Lucius snatched the sealed parchment from the very familiar owl with something approaching glee -- not that he would admit to that sort of . . . plebian feeling. He'd been looking forward to his solicitor's response from the moment he'd sent his missive off. Now, the fun could begin. He would wreak havoc on that interfering idiot's life. Lord Lucius Malfoy;
I must strongly advise against any sort of legal action in regard to the dissolved marriage contract between your family and the Parkinsons. Traditional, historical precident has been set against your position. The last person who protested such dissolvement was, in fact, a Malfoy, several centuries ago. To put it bluntly, they lost their case. If you still wish the marriage to go through, your best option is to renegotiate the contract with the girl's watcher.
As your solicitor, I give a note of caution, however. You should find out just how the girl's family intends to react to the situation before rebinding your son to the slayer. I have no doubt, you've given thought to their probable reaction to this event, and that it will most likely be very similar in content to any action the Malfoy family might take if a daughter of your house were to be chosen.
Another thought to take into consideration is that very few slayers throughout history have sided with dark forces. Historically speaking, the overwhelming majority fight for the light -- her family history notwithstanding. One final thought to keep under consideration is that slayers are under the jurisdiction of no one but their watcher. Marrying the girl into your family would give you -- or your son -- absolutely no control over her or her funds.
Your servant, Marcus Alexian Starch
Lucius growled as he set the disappointing note alight. That had not
been what he'd wanted to hear. His solicitor had been right about one thing, however. He had considered Patrick's response, and he wasn't entirely certain he did still wish to bind their families. It was more the principle of the matter now. No one renigged on a Malfoy without retribution of some sort. Apparently, he had to more letters to send out, instead of just one. The minister would hear of this outrage. Lucius had certainly lined the man's pockets with enough money to make him lean toward his side in this . . . debacle. And if it took more, so be it. That girl would be ruined!
Xander grinned as he watched both Hermione and Pansy working through their combat exercises. They had both come a long way in the last few weeks, but Xander had to admit that he was especially proud of Pansy. It had been obvious from the beginning that, although, Hermione had some familiarity with what they both called 'muggle' exercises, Pansy had not. It was not so easy to tell now, however. Pansy had worked hard and was now only a little behind the muggleborn slayer. Not to say that Hermione had not also worked diligently, but to Xander's watchful eye, Pansy had worked even harder. He suspected that she felt she had something to prove.
Of course, both girls still had a long way to go before they would even come close to giving Buffy a run for her money, but they were coming along very nicely, and he made sure to let them both know that.
"All right, girls. That's enough for now," Xander called out, then waited until they joined him. "Good job today," he continued. "Buffy will be waiting for you to join her for weapons training after lunch. I expect both of you to read chapters three through five of the new slayer's handbook, as well as complete your reading of 'Vampires: a guide to survival'. I'll want to see the notes you take on the information tomorrow morning." He ignored the groan from Pansy. He fully suspected she did it only for show, since her notes always seemed just as detailed as Hermione's. "Until then, you're both free to do what you want."
"Thank you, Professor!" both girls chorused on their way out of the room.
Xander rolled his eyes. He'd given up insisting that he wasn't a professor, and that they were allowed to call him by his name, merely a week into their sessions. It seemed they were as insistent on calling him 'Professor' as he was on calling Giles, G-man. In some ways it made him feel old
, but in other ways, it made him feel good -- good about himself and what he was doing here -- respected even. He was a 'professor' . . . even if he really wasn't.
Shaking his head, he grinned as he headed toward the single piece of actual furniture in the room; a desk and chair set. Between the books he was currently studying -- demonology, as well as several dealing with the magic he was just beginning to learn -- was a letter, sealed with a rather ornate wax seal. A large M being the only thing he could read on it. He suspected it was the very not
awaited letter from one Mr. Lucius Malfoy and he really wasn't look forward to reading it. Grabbing it up, however, he strode out of the room, making sure to shut and lock the door behind him, before making a beeline for his father's dungeons. Something told him, he would be needing the man's help to deal with this. If nothing else, to make sure he knew all the bloody protocols
. He didn't want to unintentionally insult the man, after all. Intentionally
, well that was another matter entirely, but he would deal with that when and if the time came. He just hoped that, against everything he'd heard so far, the man would turn out to be reasonable about the whole thing.
As far as he was concerned. He wasn't about to make Pansy marry someone she didn't want to marry. If she chose to do it on her own, well, once again, that was another matter entirely. That would be her choice. He hadn't heard much about the younger Malfoy; Draco, he thought the boy's name was, but with all the exposure he'd had back in high school to the kids from the 'better' families, he was sure the kid was going to be a snot. Don't prejudge the kid, Xander Harris,
he scolded himself. All too familiar with being judged before even being met, he really didn't want to do it to anyone else. Look how Cordelia had turned out, after all.
Sighing, he relaxed as he continued down to his father's domain, a feeling of contentment swirling through him as he trailed his hand along the banister. Sometimes it seemed as though the castle were actually alive, then reality surfaced and Xander chuckled, shaking himself of such a delusional fantasy. He was already living in world filled with witches and wizards, ghosts, goblins and other assorted . . . myths
; he really didn't need to make up any along the way. He froze as a gentle, barely heard laugh floated through his mind. He blinked and shook his head. Maybe it was time to talk to his father. His first instinct had been that the castle was laughing at him. That couldn't be good. As much as he loved living here, felt at home here. It was a building
, and if he was beginning to think otherwise, obviously, he was becoming delusional.
Xander squirmed uncomfortably under the intense stare of his father, hoping the man didn't now think him completely insane. He'd tried to phrase his . . . worries in a way to prevent that, but now he wasn't so certain.
Suddenly the man leapt out of his seat, startling Xander into a jump and an embarrassingly unmanly yelp. Striding straight toward one of the many book-covered shelves, his father quickly searched through the titles, obviously looking for a specific book. It eerily reminded Xander of one of Giles' 'dear lord' moments. He knew the moment the professor found what he wanted; though, he wasn't certain just how he knew the man was suddenly a professor
and not simply his father -- something in the posture or movements, he supposed. Pulling a ridiculously sized tome from the shelf, the professor hauled it to the table before opening it. Not that Xander could blame the man for it! The tome
wasn't exactly a paperback novel to be held in one hand and idly thumbed through with the other. In fact, Xander refused to call the thing a book at all. It wasn't a book; it was a tome, one matching Xander's imagination exactly. The dust that flew up from the book as it was opened to the middle told him just how long it had been since the last time it had been opened. He almost snorted. It had probably been as long as it had been since the last time he'd cracked open one of his school books -- if not longer. Despite the size of the tome, it took a surprisingly short amount of time before the professor straightened abruptly. "There!" he announced sharply, jabing a pointed finger near the center of the page it was now open to.
Warily, Xander stood and crossed to the table, worried that he was going to find out that something really was wrong with him. He'd never been one to back down from a challenge, however. So, he took a deep breath and began reading, his eyes widening wider and wider, the further he read.
Several times throughout Hogwarts' history, the school has perportedly chosen a 'spokesman' from among its residents. No one is entirely certain how or why it happens, merely that it does. Those spokesmen who were willing to speak of the experience at all, merely reported feeling an instant rappore with the school, as if they had finally come home. All but two of those so chosen have eventually gone on to head the school.
One of the two who did not, died before she could do so. The other was driven insane by irreversible dark curses suffered during a duel.
Xander snapped his head up at that, and he stared incredulously at his father. The arched eyebrow and the faint, smug smirk did nothing to calm him. "Me?" he exclaimed, his voice cracking slightly. "A principal?" Shaking his head fervently, he slowly backed away -- as if the book could actually make him start now. "That's even more absurd than me being a wizard or becoming a watcher!"
"And yet, you are both."
Xander glared. "So not the point!" he snapped. "I'm way not school oriented. I barely passed high school. I was the clown, the one that made everyone laugh. Aren't principals supposed to be all disciplinary like?" It was sure the way Snyder was.
"Headmaster, Xander, not principal," Snape corrected -- earning himself another glare. "And no, not really, only for major incidents, or disciplinary disputes. For the most part -- at least at Hogwarts -- discipline is handled by the professors, then the heads of house. Only if it cannot be resolved at either of those levels is the headmaster involved."
"So, what does a headmaster do?" he asked before he could stop himself. He didn't need to know this. It was not
his future. Him? Head a school? No way!
"Beyond leading staff meetings?" his father replied, snorting, "you would have to speak to Albus about that." Pausing, he shook his head slightly, "Or, perhaps, Minerva. The current headmaster has many roles, so many -- if not all -- of his daily duties here have been shifted to her."
Xander shook his head, not saying no, simply denying the possibility at all
Rolling his eyes, his father sighed heavily. "We aren't talking about tomorrow
, Xander," he sneered. "This could be . . . 50 years from now. There certainly has never been a headmaster younger than 70. I've never even heard of one below 90."
Xander felt the relief flood him instantly. He seriously doubted he'd be alive by the time he hit 70 to even worry about such a thing. In fact -- considering the kind of life he led -- he felt very safe simply forgetting about the whole, stupid thing.
Once more feeling safe enough to approach the book
, he began reading again. He did need to know what else
was involved with this spokesman thing. He frowned as he continued reading, however. "Gandolf isn't a spokesman?" he asked, surprised. The old man seemed so much a part of the school. Now that he knew it was a thing that happened, it seemed obvious.
His father shook his head. "No, there is never more than one at a time -- and you never stop being one."
"Frankly, I dread to think just how 'all knowing' the man would seem if he was
connected to the school in such a way. He's bad enough as things are."
Xander laughed. He could really see how that was probably very annoying after awhile -- especially after you got tired of being wrong. Shaking loose the thoughts about being a 'spokesman', he refocused on the letter now burning a hole in his pocket --metaphorically, of course -- especially since it seemed 'the thing' was going to be a long term thing and he'd have time to worry about it later. He snorted to himself. At least he wasn't going insane. He'd really, really
hate to end up like Drusilla, only instead of talking to the stars, talking to a building! The faint hint of laughter he sensed in response to the thought was still a bit unnerving, but at least he was now sure it was actually real
Pulling out the letter from Lucius Malfoy, Xander held it up. "I haven't read it yet," he admitted soflty, "but I suspect it's directly in response to my confirming that Pansy had been chosen."
"Speculation is useless, Xander," his father retorted. "Open it, and you will know."
Xander rolled his eyes. Obvious much!
he retorted silently. Taking a deep breath -- though, why he was so worried about it, he had absolutely no clue -- he opened the letter.
To his very not
surprise, the letter was pretty much a lot of hot air, threats that wouldn't look like threats to most people and a reminder of the Malfoy family influence. What did surprise him was the very politely phrased request that they meet to discuss options. Puzzled, he silently handed the letter to the professor, waiting as the man read the very wordy letter that really said so little.
"He wants to see if he can intimidate you into giving him what he wants."
"Control of a slayer and her assets?" Xander guessed.
His father nodded once, sharply. "I'm sure he's already discovered as much about you as he can, including your age."
"So, he'll think I'm a pushover because I'm young?"
"Possibly," Snape admitted.
"Sometimes, it can be good to be underestimated."
His father smirked in response, obviously agreeing with his assessment. "He might also assume lack of contacts and support structure. That usually takes time -- or family connections -- to build."
"Which would make it difficult to back up my claims and rights."
Xander smirked, his mind whirling, planning the upcoming meeting down to the last detail. Of course, he didn't expect it to go the way he wanted it to -- nothing ever did -- but he could certainly plan for every disaster in the making he could think of. And boy could he think of a lot!
Smirking, Severus eased the door shut behind his departing son, torn between pride for the very Slytherin ideas the boy had come up with for his meeting with Lucius and fear for the very Gryffindor bluntness with which he planned to execute those ideas. He gave a mental shrug as he shook his head. At least the boy listened. He even took heed of advice . . . sometimes. The more time he spent with Xander, the more he realized that the boy was someone to be proud of -- even if he hadn't had a hand in raising him.
Now, however, he had a mission. He was going to corner the younger Summers and finally find out just how he'd earned his nicknames. The 'Man Who Sees' and the 'White Knight'. He highly suspected the girl would be happy to prattle on about Xander. She seemed to quite idolize him. The only obstacle would be; could he actually listen to her prattle until managed to uncover the information he desired. Of Course, this also depends a great deal on whether I can pry her away from that obnoxious
That would be quite the accomplishment itself, he knew. The two had been virtually attached at the hip from almost the moment the prat had appeared. He really didn't see what the chit saw in the bloke.
Locking up his chambers behind him, Severus strode toward the main floor. Fortunately, it was not difficult to find her. As he had suspected, however, she was deep in quiet -- surprisingly enough -- conversation with the blond. He debated with himself for several moments before deciding that he didn't want to wait any longer for the information he was after, and strode up to the pair, determined to put up with Spike
if he had to. He wouldn't even sneer at him . . . much.
"I would like a word with you Miss Summers," he stated, the moment a lull in the conversation allowed him to, "about my son."
"Cop a squat, then," Summer replied brightly.
Before he could formulate any kind of reply to the child's inane response, Spike
chuckled, shaking his head.
"Translation: Have a seat. We'll be happy to . . . fill you in."
Relieved to hear words he actually understood and embarrassed that his need for translation had been recognized so easily, Severus climbed over the bench and sat at a table he never
thought he would ever
sit at; Gryffindor.
Kiristeen ke Alaya
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