*BAM! BAM! BAM!*
Xander blinked and sat up, his mind fuzzily grasping at what he last remembered. Ignoring whatever was breaking down the door he looked around the room and quickly examined himself. He appeared to be in an abandoned cabin, and even worse in the body of a half-starved prepubescent boy! 'Better than a prepubescent girl,' he thought to himself, snatching up the fireplace poker and wondering when he had gotten de-aged.
Dodging to the side as the door fell to the floor, he swung the poker at waist level and was rewarded with a loud curse and the poker snapping.
“Cheap ass pot metal!” Xander cursed.
“Freeze!” a really overweight man with a mustache that would have looked right at home on a walrus yelled as he came out of the back room of the cabin with a shotgun.
Xander didn't even think twice; it was a small room but it took him several steps more than he thought it should to cross it.
The fat man instinctively moved the gun towards Xander, who dealt with him the same way he always did with threats over four times his size – he punched him in the groin.
Apparently the man hadn't been expecting that at all and Xander was able to catch the gun, flipping off the safety he turned to see what had knocked the door in.
“Hey Har-” the way too huge to be a normal human began, just before Xander stuck the barrel of the shotgun against his groin.
“Who are you and why have you broken in?” Xander demanded, annoyed at how young his voice sounded.
“I'm Rubeus Hagrid, the Keeper of Keys at Hogwarts,” the giant of a man said quickly, “I've come to deliver your acceptance letter.”
Xander looked into Hagrid's eyes and could tell that for all his size and strength he was completely unused to violence and believed what he was saying.
“Sorry,” Xander apologized moving the gun away. “People breaking in in the middle of the night make me jumpy.”
“Boy you'll pay for that!” the fat man growled as he was helped to his feet by a young boy, who looked far too much like the fat man to be healthy and a woman who apparently had a giraffe somewhere in her ancestry. She was also severely constipated if the look on her face was anything to go by.
“Watch yer mouth Dursley ya great prune,” Hagrid growled out, obviously not liking his threats toward Xander, before putting the door back in place and lighting a fire in the fireplace using his umbrella of all things!
Despite his harsh words Dursley didn't do anything more than glare at the two.
“Why do you have flamethrower hidden in your umbrella?” Xander asked curiously. “Not that it’s not cool or anything but it can't have much fuel.”
“Flamethrower?” The big man's face wrinkled in confusion behind his bushy black beard. “Nah, I've got the pieces of my wand in there, but I'd appreciate you not telling anyone.”
“Magic wand?” Xander asked curiously, moving closer to the fireplace with the shotgun still tucked under his arm.
“Not one more word!” Dursley yelled. “I forbid it!”
Hagrid looked over at him. “Forbid it?”
“We swore there'd be no more unnaturalness when we got our hands on him!” the giraffe woman said primly.
“You mean to tell me he don't know nothin' about nothin'?” Hagrid demanded, a storm slowly growing on his face.
Xander shrugged. “I'm completely in the dark here,” he admitted.
The look Hagrid threw the group sent them scrambling into the room they'd popped out of and barring the door behind them.
“Make with the info,” Xander ordered, only to be interrupted by his stomach growling loud enough to be heard over the background rumble of the storm outside.
Hagrid wore a patched something-skin coat large enough to be used as a three man tent. Reaching into one of the pockets he pulled out a cake box. “Here, I made this for you.”
Xander opened it up revealing a chocolate cake. “Why does it say ‘Happy Birthday Harry?”
“Because it's after midnight, making this July 31st, Happy birthday Harry!”
“My name is Alexander Lavelle Harris and my birthday is in September,” Xander replied.
Hagrid's eyes darted to Xander's brow. “The Dursley's have lied about a lot to you; you eat and I'll explain things.”
“Sure,” Xander said agreeably before digging in.
“Your name is Harry Potter…”
Xander woke up to a tapping at the window and crawled out of Hagrid's coat, which he'd used as a blanket, pillow, and tent.
“Daily paper,” Hagrid said with a yawn as he awoke and stretched out on the ancient sofa the room had that just barely fit him, despite looking to have been made for a family of five to sit comfortably. “Let him in and give him a couple of knuts, they're the copper coins in the top pocket.”
Xander pulled out a couple of dog biscuits, a field mouse, and some copper coins before opening the window and finding himself nose to beak with a large brown horned owl.
The owl held out a leg which had a newspaper tied to it with a leather strap.
Xander quickly untied it and tossed it to Hagrid.
The owl switched legs, holding out a leg which had a small leather pouch on it.
Xander dropped a pair of copper coins in it before holding his palms out flat. “If you're hungry we've got a field mouse, otherwise I'd suggest the dog biscuit. It'll help you sharpen your beak and give your feathers a healthy sheen, which will help you out with the opposite sex.”
The owl snatched up a dog biscuit and flew off.
Xander closed the window and turned back to find that Hagrid had somehow managed to produce a frying pan and sausages which he was cooking in the fireplace.
“The wizarding world sounds like a bunch of nuts,” Xander said, continuing the conversation from last night. “But it also sounds like a lot of fun and your magic looks like it'd be something useful to know.”
“Good!” Hagrid beamed. “I'd hate to be the one to tell them I was the one who'd convinced the Boy Who Lived not to join us.”
“Return,” Hagrid commanded, tapping the rowboat with his umbrella and sending it paddling itself back to the island.
“Why couldn't you use that to get it here?” Xander asked curiously.
“The return spell only makes it return to the last place it came from; so if I used it to get us here I couldn't use it to return it to your relatives.”
“Makes sense,” Xander agreed. “We’ll try and sneak into Diagon Alley and get me some decent clothes before anyone sees me and wants autographs.”
Hagrid chuckled. “Okay Har- I mean Xander.”
The predatory spirit had felt its surroundings change and had shifted to conform. It mas much harder to stalk prey when you stood out. Better to blend in so you could choose when to strike after all.
Familiar landmarks had changed positions and territories had shifted around a bit but it wasn't wholly unrecognizable, so once it had made itself at home again it would track down the latest edition to the mindscape and … say hi.
Diagon Alley was exactly the kind of place George Lucas would have invented if he'd tried his hand at writing fantasy Xander decided after a moment; it was like Mos Eisley by way of Tolkien.
“Beautiful ain't it?” Hagrid asked proudly.
“It's something alright!” Xander replied cheerfully.
“First Gringotts for some gold and then we'll get your things for school,” Hagrid promised as he lead him through a multicolored crowd of magic users to an imposing stone edifice made of black marble with enormous silver doors engraved with some rhyme about greed and theft.
Xander paused at the top of the stairs leading into the bank and stared at the short, green, sharp toothed, and clawed beings behind the counters. The fact that they were all impeccably dressed in gray suits and burgundy vests just heightened his wariness.
“Goblins run Gringotts,” Hagrid explained. “They're a bit rude, but they guard the money like it’s their own.”
Xander's palm itched for a weapon, of course he'd often felt that way while surrounded by suits so he tried to ignore it.
Hagrid guided him into line and to Xander's joy the line moved quickly.
“What do you want?” The goblin demanded rudely as they reached the front.
“Access to his vault for him and I'm here to pick up you-know-what for you-know-who,” Hagrid whispered loudly enough to match Xander’s normal speaking voice.
“Key,” The goblin demanded and looked disgusted when Hagrid had to dig through his pockets to find it, dropping half a dozen random things on his ledger.
Xander was still feeling a bit peckish and without thinking about it, his left hand darted out and grabbed a small grass snake. He bit off its head before slurping it down like a strand of spaghetti, having gotten into the habit in Africa.
The goblin raised an eyebrow but didn't comment as Hagrid presented his key a moment later.
“Griphook!” The goblin yelled, calling a goblin with an impressive set of keys on his belt over and presented Xander's key before rattling something off in a language that sounded vaguely familiar to Xander.
“Follow me,” Griphook ordered before leading them to what looked like a roller coaster car designed to look like a mining cart.
“These things always upset my stomach,” Hagrid complained as he climbed in the back, while Xander took the middle bench seat.
The goblin grinned toothily as he pulled the release lever.
“Whoo hoo!” Xander cheered as the cart did everything but loop de loops through long dark tunnels with the occasional glimpse of subterranean wonders that almost took his breath away.
Hagrid groaned and held his stomach when they finally came to a stop, about five minutes later.
“Potter Trust Vault,” Griphook announced, climbing out of the cart and approaching a large steel door set into the rough hewn wall. Griphook stuck the tiny gold key into a keyhole in the wall before inserting a large metal skeleton key into the door causing the door to ripple like water before vanishing.
Xander stepped into the vault and froze as he saw what almost looked like a dragon's hoard. Spying a leather sack by the door he decided that things must cost a lot of money in the magic world and filled the sack accordingly.
“Something not to your satisfaction?” Griphook asked as he saw his frown as the young boy left the vault.
“Just doesn't look right without gems scattered about,” Xander complained, “and nothing says hoard like gold and jewel encrusted odds and ends taken from somebody with more money than brains, preferably by trickery or force.”
“Indeed,” the goblin said his smile bright.
“A large dragon wouldn't be amiss either,” Xander said wistfully.
“Maybe an ornate throne on one of the larger piles of gold,” Griphook added.
“Booby trapped of course,” Xander agreed, “because anyone that has killed you to take your hoard will immediately sit in it, to cement the fact that they've beaten you and boom, revenge from beyond the grave.”
Griphook laughed as they climbed back into the cart.
Hagrid had recovered from the ride but soon relapsed as they sped toward you-know-what for you-know-who for god-only-knows-why. Hagrid climbed out of the cart unsteadily, when they reached their destination a good ten minutes or so later, much to both Xander and Griphook's amusement.
Xander watched as they opened the vault, the process involving three keys and some chanting, but was disappointed to only see a small cloth pouch in the center of the vault. “Should layer booby traps in the vault and add some sort of illusion to make the thieves think the treasure is hidden.”
“It’s an empty vault,” Griphook pointed out.
“A robber wouldn't know that and the longer they take, the better the chance of catching them.”
“No one has ever managed to break into Gringotts,” Griphook said proudly.
Xander winced. “Now you're just taunting Murphy.”
“Who?” the goblin asked as they climbed back in the cart.
“Murphy's Law says ‘whatever can go wrong will go wrong’. So by saying Gringotts has never been broken into, you're taunting Murphy or daring the universe to prove you wrong,” Xander explained loudly as the cart picked up speed.
“Wizards always act like nothing can go wrong,” Griphook replied doubtfully.
“Humans came up with it, not wizards!” Xander yelled over the wind. “I think you call them muggles!”
“The muggles came up with this law?” Griphook asked intently just loud enough to be heard.
“Yeah,” Xander assured him, “it's about the perversity of perception!”
The cart reached the lobby and Hagrid climbed out of the cart as if he were afraid it would take off again before he could get out.
“Know any place to buy weapons?” Xander asked as he put the heavy bag of gold over his shoulder. “I feel naked without something I can stab things with on me.”
Griphook's smile took up half his face and he reached into his vest and pulled out a foot long grayish silver knife with a serrated edge and the tip sweeping back into a sharp hook. It had no tang, the metal melding smoothly with the bone handle. “Made this a couple of months ago, it hasn't even been blooded yet.”
Xander drooled and his palms itched. In Africa he'd learned to never go unarmed, even when going to the can and that habit had been engraved enough that his lack of a weapon was making him a little paranoid. “How much?” he asked eagerly.
“Three hundred galleons,” the goblin replied proudly, exaggerating the price since he'd just been intending to show it off, not sell it. It was the finest example of his work so far, but he was far from a master craftsman.
“Deal!” Xander said eagerly and before he could blink, Griphook found his hands full of galleons.
Xander tested the edge of the blade with his thumb, grinning when it parted the skin effortlessly before spinning it in his hands and trying a half dozen basic moves to get a feel for it.
Hagrid, much recovered, nodded to himself seeing Xander knew what he was doing and figured every boy should have a pocket knife, it was only a little bitty thing anyway.
Xander made the blade vanish. “Thanks Griphook! Off to shopping?” he asked Hagrid.
“Yeah we'd best get started,” Hagrid agreed, leading Xander off.
One of the armored security goblins stepped over to the shocked Griphook. “Notice he deliberately wet it with his own blood?”
Griphook poured the money into one of his pockets. “The kid's a goblin in human skin, I've gotta talk to the vault manager.”
“Isn't there a magic way to do this that doesn't involve me standing around getting stuck by pins?” Xander asked, his low tolerance for clothes shopping already exceeded by stepping in the door, much less standing with his arms outstretched like he was standing to be measured for his own crucifixion scene.
“Yes, but that costs an extra two galleons,” Madam Malkin began.
“Here!” Xander exclaimed, handing her two galleons. “It's cheap at twice the price!”
The blonde boy standing next to him put his arms down and started searching his own pockets. “Dammit!”
Xander gave the woman another two galleons. “That covers both of us, bye!”
The two boys fled in different directions.
Knowing that Hagrid was going to be a while and that the fitting was supposed to take at least an hour, Xander immediately ducked down Knockturn Alley. “Nice of Hagrid to point this place out for me.”
Normally while he was in Africa, any time he found himself in a new territory Xander would find the sleaziest dive, lead off with some explosives, kill a couple of the vilest demons, and then order a drink, to introduce himself to the local demon population. But here he'd been reduced to a half starved boy whose balls had barely dropped, dressed in rags, and carrying a sack full of gold. So the question was what should he do?
An empty table in the middle of the room turned into an explosion of heat and light, sending wooden shrapnel throughout the room, as the concussive force flung everyone about.
Xander strode in, helmet under his arm, a belt filled with potion vials around his waist, black full plate chitinous armor shrunk to fit his miniscule frame that fit him like an exoskeleton. “Hey, Lucy I'm HOME!”
Fenrir Greyback sprung to his feet, his lycanthrope healing allowing him to recover almost instantly as the beast inside him roared in pain and rage and transformed his already 6'4” frame into a 7'+ massive engine of destruction.
Seeing the wall of furry flesh looming over him over four times his size, Xander did the logical thing.
There was a flash of silver below his waist and Fenrir Greyback turned into a tiny whimpering ball.
Without missing a beat Xander climbed atop him. “Hi everyone!” he called out cheerfully. “I just wanted to pop in and say hi and I wanted to make sure that everyone here knew who I was and what the penalty for crossing me was.”
Eyes darted to Xander's footstool, and back to his face, finally spotting the scar on his brow.
“Well with that out of the way I have to finish my school shopping, so toodles!”
After he left the bartender asked, “What the hell just happened?”
“I think someone was giving you a warning Lucius,” Nott said, casting a numbing spell on his bloody left arm.
“Me?” Lucius asked in confusion.
“Remember what Lily Potter called you during the attack on Molstrum's place?”
Lucius paled, looking at the whimpering werewolf and then at the werewolf's bloody scrotum lying several feet away. “Well he's got his mother's charm that’s for sure.”
A tiny beetle fluttered drunkenly out the door unnoticed.
Hagrid looked around Madam Malkin's with a pair of ice cream cones.
Xander walked in a couple of seconds later, wearing nice but obviously broken in black robes with a leather backpack in the same condition.
“There you are!” Hagrid said spotting Harry and handing him a cone. “Got your fitting done?”
“Yep,” Xander replied cheerfully, “what's next?” AN: Typing by Godogma.
AN2: This was a general idea of a Xander who had gone a bit feral in the wilds of Africa getting switched out with Harry Potter.