Author: Seekerofthewind (aka Windest)
Series: Under the Sun- 1
Genre: BtVS/Harry Potter
Spoilers: AU starts Season 3 (“Helpless”), AU post OotP
Disclaimer: Xander and all other BtVS characters and plot elements belong to Joss Whendon and Mutant Enemy. Harry Potter belongs to J. K. Rowling. Some used concepts belong to Max Frei. I don't own any of these characters and this text is not to be of any commercial use.
Distribution: Tell me and put my name on.
The car literally fell apart. The engine left a thorough scratch on the road before Xander managed to pull the vehicle to the side of the road, solely on inertia, dumb luck and someone's mother; transmission was just about separate from the rest of the car and radiator could as well be a frying pan. He stood to the side of the an interstate halfway to Nevada, the sun was mercilessly pouring its light onto the sinful earth and no means of transport cud be seen around, as well as no buildings were there to be seen. Kicking the chunk of metal that pretended to be a car for the last several hours for good measure, Xander picked up his worldly possessions and started walking down the road.
“Hey, wait up!” he head a shout from behind. He turned to look and saw a thin, pale-skinned man with dark hair, wearing a straw hat and sunglasses. He carried a long white wooden staff in his right hand and carried a leather backpack on his left shoulder. He was waving his hand while quickly approaching the Californian.
“You know, it gets kinda boring, walking there all alone,”said the stranger smiling apologetically. He had a strong English accent that reminded Xander strongly of Giles'.
“Don't know it yet. But driving alone was fine. Guess, just like the quiet.”
“...And any one who is unable to live a common life or who is self-sufficient that he has no need to do so is no member of Society, which means that he is either a beast or a god."
“Gee, thanks. Whose is that?”
“Aristotle. I'm Harry, by the way.”
“Xander. You walking for long?”
“An hour or so. You know, I thought that desert is empty. Makes you think.”
“Isn't it? It looked like it's just sand from here.”
“There is no “just sand”, like there is no “just people”. Every grain of sand is unique and there are plenty of things in the desert other than sand.”
The silence fell after this phrase. They kept walking down the road, Harry was humming a strange tune, while Xander closed his eyes and focused on walking and fighting the heat. It worked and he no longer felt hot, only a slight breeze blowing to his face. Xander opened his eyes and looked up only to freeze in shock. The land around him was as if made of black cardboard and the sky looked made of golden cloth. There was no sun and all the landmarks were just shining contours of silver light. The only thing unchanged was Harry, who was looking at him with badly hidden amusement.
“Don't finish that sentence. We've just moved to the Dark Side of Reality. Chill.”
“Chill? Where in the God's name did you take me?” yelled Xander, drawing dagger from his sleeve.
“That's... Well, in the simplest terms, reflection of our reality. Pretty, isn't it? Don't worry, I do not intend to harm you.”
Harry's pose truly lacked aggression. He was relaxed and leaned on his staff heavily, as if he was preparing for a long talk.
“We can keep walking, if you want. The next town in about two miles away.”
“No way. You tell me what's happening now and right here!” snapped Xander. Harry smiled and the young man understood that he played right into his hands: the stranger wasn't even planning to walk any further.
Harry waved his hand and there appeared a table with comfortable chairs, umbrella and two bottles of water. He sat into one of those, braced his staff to the back of his chair and dropped his bag next to it. Then he made an inviting gesture pointing at the other chair.
“Be my guest. What did you want to know?”
Xander dropped his bag into golden dust and sat on the other chair.
“First question, where are we?”
“The same place as we were. Just not in the reality, but in its Dark Side. This is a special space used by some mages for deeper interaction with reality. Let's say, it's a way to attract more of your attention to the talk we're gonna have.”
”Second question, what talk?”
“Talk about what you want to do with your life. I don't know what happened to you before, but I see you're at the crossroads. You have no future and neither you have past. I could use your help. And you could use mine.”
“Third question, who are you?”
“Harry James Potter, Head of Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter, ex-wizard, ex-mage, ex-deadman, currently an Ascended being that likes helping people that pique my interest.”
Xander eyed him suspiciously, changing grip on the dagger and readying to attack.
“No, not the demonic Ascension,” Harry rose his arms in a universal peace gesture. “I'm as human as they come at the moment. Thou this body is merely a projection of my will onto the mortal plane and I could grow a new one should the need arise. So put down your toy and let's talk like big boys.”
Xander put his dagger onto the table, but his motions remained as rapid as before. He sat down but made sure to stay within striking range.
“What do you want to talk about?”
“Future. Your future, to be precise. Or you having a future at all. You see, had you reached Oxnard normally, you'd be trapped in a sequence of events that lead to your death. You see, your impact on the timeline is not appreciated by Powers That Bitch.”
Xander swore under his breath.
“They already removed Giles from the picture, so that neither Buffy nor Willow would have his guidance when it's needed. Margaret Pryce did her best to break your group up so that the Slayer was back under Council control and Willow's dabbling in magic lead her to being a toy of PTB. They think she'll be a good avatar material, uncaring to the fact that it will destroy her personality. Then the Old Ones will do the same and in some point in future there will be a mother of Apocalypses' with a battle of two avatars of True Powers and planet-scale collateral. Let's say: I don't like the plot.”
Xander sat back in his chair. The worst of all was that he could believe the stranger's words.
Last several months were tough for Sunnydale. After Giles being fired he was sent out of the country with no prospect of return. The new Watcher, Margaret Pryce, was at first charming, supportive and competent enough to earn their trust. Then she was sly and smart enough to play Yoko on them without them noticing. He and Willow still kept in touch, but with Slayer ignoring them the things went south pretty soon. Buffy went after Faith and sent her to Coma-ville on an express train. Willow dabbled in dark magic in order to curse the Mayor but failed spectacularly and spent the rest of the year recovering. Her marks suffered significantly and she only could apply to UC Sunnydale. He, himself in the end slipped, kidnapped the Mayor and gave him a concrete bath. Ascension met Wilkins by a fair shot of C4 and sky-high trip. After graduation Xander saw no other way but to skip the town.
“You have no Fate now, Xander Harris, your further destiny is a clean slate yet, so I can give you a choice.”
“We can cooperate or we can part right now and never see each other again.”
Xander looked away. Honestly speaking, the second option was very tempting: the man was a complete stranger to him and he didn't trust this “Ascended being” further than he could throw him... On the other hand, he didn't have anywhere to go and much to loose now.
“What if I agree?” he asked cautiously. Potter smiled at him sympathetically.
“No pressure, I'll just give you tips, advices, opportunities and so on. You're free to act on it or not. You can refuse to act on anything I provide and terminate our cooperation at any point.”
“And the catch is?..”
“I won't interfere with your operations physically. I may give you informational, social or magical assistance, but under no circumstances I will help you in a fight or in any other pressing circumstances.”
“May I ask you why?” Xander still eyed Harry with suspicion, but was far more relaxed.
“Equilibrium. If I do a good deed, a demonic force can commit an equal act of evil. If I commit an act of evil, STD, sorry, PTB will use it as a leeway to screw us over. So, I kinda give you heads up on sweet deals and act as a normal wizard, who is not officially a part of the Big Game, at least yet. But that's another story.”
“OK. Where do I sign?”
“Nowhere. You agree and I give you a first package of data. It's up to you to do whatever you want with it. If you complete an assignment, you'll get a boon. If not, “This brings no blame”. Freedom of choice.”
Xander sighed, closed his eyes for a second and then stretched out his hand.
AN: Please, Read and Review. I need to know the areas for improvement and all positive reinforcement I can get. =)