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Time and Again

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Summary: When Xander Harris goes missing in the Congo, you'll never guess where he ends up. Or perhaps I should say when?

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > Xander-Centered > Pairing: OtherBarefootXOFR181328,59948511156,77012 Sep 107 Jul 12No

The Godfather

I don't own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Harry Potter. They belong to Joss Whedon and Joanne K. Rowling respectively.

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!!

I kept my promise this time. Hopefully I'll have another update in three days time. Divisions of Self, this time, I think.

~~

The Black Lake
Hogwarts Grounds
November 6th 1994


Harry and Neville fell to the ground gasping as the three runners finally finished their lap around the Black Lake. Both boys were utterly exhausted and lay spread out on the grass.

Xander turned around to level a smirk at his two exhausted charges. “No you don’t, boys. Haul yourselves back to your feet and walk about slowly for a while. You need to cool down after an exercise.” The boys both turned exhausted glares on their would-be mentor, but Xander was unmoved. “Don’t even bother with those looks, boys. I know what I’m talking about. If you don’t have a cool down after that run you will be in real pain in the morning.”

As both boys reluctantly hauled themselves up, Harry gave in to his curiosity. “Why not just go to Madam Pomfrey for a pain relief potion, then?”

Xander snorted. “Pain relief won’t solve the problem. It’ll just mask it for a while. Besides, wizards are entirely too big on solving all of their problems with magic. Pain relief potions are unnecessary when a simple cool down exercise will prevent the problem in the first place.

Neville had finally regained his breath. “We’re wizards. Why not use magic if we can?”

The professor snorted. “Spoken like a true pureblood, Neville. Let me give you an example. A group of muggles see a vampire kill some poor guy. What is the wizarding solution to what the muggles saw?”

Neville shrugged. “They’d obliviate the muggles.”

Xander nodded in agreement. “Yes they would. Why?”

Neville blinked. “To preserve the Statute of Secrecy.”

Xander shook his head. “No, they convinced the muggles nothing noteworthy had happened because of the Statute of Secrecy. They obliviated the muggles because those idiots are too damned lazy to take the five minutes time it would have taken to convince a confused muggle that the vampire was some psycho in a mask with a penchant for murder. Most muggles have been trained by modern society that the supernatural is not real. It takes very little work to offer them a more ‘realistic’ suggestion for what they really saw.”

Harry and Neville stood, mouths agape, as their teacher, for the first time, really got on a soapbox and passionately explained his position on the matter.

“Obliviation is only rarely necessary in all honesty. The only time I am in favour of using it is when someone comes upon the supernatural, realises what it means and then can’t cope with the knowledge. Unfortunately, that is not how the ministry operates. They live by a simple credo: If you’ve got a problem, throw magic at it. The fact that you are essentially violating the minds of the people you obliviate? Why should they care? They’re only muggles. As far as the ministry is concerned a muggle is lower than a kneazle…”

Xander finally notice his shell-shocked students. “Sorry about that. I’m afraid I get rather bent out of shape on unnecessary and frivolous magic use. Obliviation, in particular, is a raw nerve for me.”

The two boys nodded agreeably, still a little surprised. They hadn’t really seen a rant like that outside of Snape’s class, though at least this time it wasn’t really directed at one or both of them.

Xander moved on. “Okay, I’ve got homework for you lads.” He stilled the resulting groans with an upraised hand. “I’m not asking for physical homework, though I’d strongly recommend you both run regularly to build up your stamina. No, your homework, due next week, is a paper on all of the spells you know and can cast. For each spell you name, I will want a description of the various ways in which the spell can be applied in defence. Most spells will have multiple potential answers.”

Harry’s eyes gleamed with interest. “For example?”

Xander smirked again. “For example the lumos charm. To give you just two examples: It can be used to provide you with light when you are fighting or fleeing in the dark, or it can be overpowered and used to temporarily blind an opponent, though I’d recommend caution with that strategy. You could just as easily blind yourself if you’re not careful.”

The two boys nodded. “Yes, sir.”

Harris surveyed them critically for a moment and then nodded. “You’re dismissed for today. I’ll see you boys in class and then again next Sunday.

**

Great Hall
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
November 6th 1994


The students and teachers had only just sat down to dinner when a barn owl flitted into the hall, and flutter unerringly to the head table and dropping a scarlet envelope into Xander’s dinner.

Much of the student body watched the head table almost hungrily in anticipation of the forthcoming explosion. It was absolutely unheard of for a professor to receive a howler at the table. Frankly it was rare that they received mail at the table at all.

Xander Harris merely raised an eyebrow in irritation as he removed the envelope from his meal and set it aside, making no move to open it. Instead he snapped his fingers and his oddly-dressed elf, Ripper, appeared and removed Xander’s dinner, replacing it with a new plate of food. The envelope continued to fume impotently on the table.

As the student body waited with bated breath, the envelope apparently got tired of being ignored and animated, forming a distinctive mouth as a harsh voice swept the hall. “ALEXANDER HARRIS!!!”

For most of the students, the loud voice was one which they hadn’t heard before. Molly Weasley’s dulcet tones, for example, were well known at Hogwarts. This new voice was unknown save to one student and a small percentage of the staff. Alexander Harris was one member of the small percentage that could identify it.

The envelope moved to continue its tirade, but it would get no more words out. Xander firmly pinned the envelope to the table with a vicious stab of a dagger he had palmed under the table. Then, without so much as looking up from his dinner, Harris continued to eat as if nothing had occurred.

**

Longbottom Manor
Bristol, England
November 6th 1994


“You bellowed, Lady Regent?”

The elderly countenance of Augusta Longbottom turned to offer up a glare to her son’s much-despised best friend. “I told you never to come here again when last we spoke, Alexander. Do I need to change the wards and force you?”

Xander offered up an unimpressed sneer at Augusta’s statement. “Your howler stopped speaking rather abruptly after it shouted my name for the entire Great Hall to hear at Hogwarts, Lady Regent. Now, given that I stabbed the thing into silence, I don’t know precisely what it said, but given that you chose to make it public, I chose to assume it was an invitation to discuss something that was on you mind.”

The old woman’s gaze narrowed, but she chose not to follow through on her threat yet. “Had you listened, my letter would have informed you that you are to have no interaction with my grandson beyond the classroom, Alexander.”

Xander snorted in disgust. “You can take your ultimatums and stuff them, Lady Regent. I have waited over a decade to speak with my godson, and I will wait no longer.”

“I am his guardian, Harris!” Augusta shouted, abandoning decorum. “I alone will decide who interacts with my s- grandson!”

Xander shook his adamantly. “I am Neville’s godfather. I allowed you to have Neville’s guardianship because Neville needed the stability and you needed your family. That does not mean I intended for you to cut me out of his life entirely, Augusta! I have been patient for a decade, but my patience wanes.”

“How dare you! You, who are as much to blame as the Lestranges for what happened to Frank, would dare to lecture me! If not for your telling Frank it was safe, Neville would still have his parents.”

“Still playing the blame game, are we, Augusta? Then let us be fair. If anyone was to blame for that disaster, it was your father-in-law Harfang! They would have been safe enough behind Longbottom Manor’s wards if not for that blithering idiot!”

“You go too far!”

“Oh please! How do you think that the Lestranges got into the Manor while it was in lockdown? The only way in was through the secret passage which only family is ever told of. Even I only knew of it because I am Neville’s godfather and therefore family!”

“And you accuse Harfang of revealing it, why?”

“Harfang was always advising Barty Crouch the Elder concerning the pursuit of Death Eaters during the war. Crouch visited him here many times, even when the manor was in lockdown. The only way that might have happened is if old Harfang told him how to get in. All of a sudden, a group of death eaters, including Crouch the Younger, attack Longbottom Manor successfully while it’s in lockdown. Coincidence, I think not.”

Augusta sighed and dropped into the seat. “Why did you never tell me, Alexander?”

The grim-faced defence professor shrugged. “You never wanted to hear it, Augusta, and until now I was able to live with it. Your grandson came to me, Augusta. He so desperately seeks a father figure. I’m his godfather, Augusta. Let me have that much.”

“Neville already has a father, Alexander, and I won’t have you take Frank’s place in Neville’s heart.”

“Damn it, Augusta, Frank isn’t able to be a father to Neville. If he was then we wouldn’t be having this discussion. And your image of Frank, as something Neville should aspire to, is causing more harm than good for Neville.”

“I know full well what I am doing…”

“I should dearly hope not, Augusta. You are trying to turn Neville into a clone of Frank Longbottom and that is something that Neville will never achieve because he’s just too much his own person. He tries to be what you want. He tries so desperately, but he can’t, and the weight of that constant failure eats at him like a cancer. It’s not healthy, Augusta!”

“So now I’m unfit to be his guardian. Is that what you are saying?”

“No, Augusta, I am saying the same thing you have always said about Albus. You have too much on your plate and you have nothing but Yes-Men for your advisors. That may not be true of you in your political duties, but it is true in your personal duties. You are trying to be both mother and father to Neville, and the only people you listen to are Enid and Algie. God knows that they are family, but Enid and Algie do nothing but encourage you, even when you’re obviously wrong. Worse still, they follow your example and take it even further. Or do I need to reference the Neville-bouncing incident?”

Augusta was shocked that Xander had somehow heard of that incident, but decided to focus on what was important. “I could have killed Algie, that day. I was terribly worried Neville would be a squib because of that idiotic Obliviator Lockhart, but to actually hang the boy out the window and then drop him… that was beyond the pale. I must say that it really bothered me that Neville never saw anything wrong with it.”

“Let me help you, Augusta. I’m not trying to take him away. Just let me help.”

The old woman inclined her head. “I suppose it’s long since time I forgave you, isn’t it? All right, Alexander. You may continue as you have been doing. You may even tell Neville who you are to him. You may even tell him why you haven’t been there for him. I won’t fight you anymore.”

Xander wrapped Augusta in his arms and hugged her tight. “Thank you, my old friend. It’s good to have you back.”

Augusta smiled sincerely and returned the hug. “It’s good to have you back too, you scamp.”

~~

Another one bites the dust! Woohoo!!

Jasper

The End?

You have reached the end of "Time and Again" – so far. This story is incomplete and the last chapter was posted on 7 Jul 12.

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