Disclaimer: Not mine, ANY of them that you recognize. HP and Buffy are owned by other, far richer people than me and I'm just playing with the characters for a little fun. Please don't sue?
Author's Note: Been toying with this for a while, not as pleased with it as I'd like to be, but here it is and now I can move on to something else. Like, making the kids older and getting them into REAL mischief. *giggle*
A/N2: I almost forgot to mention that LMiC helped me with making this chapter better. Any and all mistakes are still mine, however. *rueful chuckle*
Dumbledore was worried. This “muggle” cousin was turning out to be far more than he ever realized and he was no longer sure that Alexander Harris was the right guardian for the child.
The reports he’d received explaining what the organization, The Phoenix Foundation, We Empower Women to be all they can be, really was. The list of sister organizations was very long, but all of them seemed to have sprung from what used to be known as The Watcher’s Council and Albus had long had concerns about those arrogant men and women. To top that, Harris had magic users around all of the time and not witches and wizards of the wizarding world, but the muggle version of it that corrupted them and made them into beings as evil as those the organizations they worked for claimed to fight.
He shuddered briefly, “Can’t have Harry around much of THAT, now can we?”
No, he’d really have to look and see if there was anyone else at all in the muggle world that would do. With that thought settled in his mind, he made a floo call.
“Albus Dumbledore, how nice to hear from you! What can the ministry do to help you today?” The bodiless head in the fireplace beamed ingratiatingly at the headmaster.
“Thank you for asking, Miss Adelaide. I’m calling concerning the application for permanent guardianship Alexander Harris has filed for young Harry Potter. I’m not really finished with my investigation into all of the lad’s relatives and so was hoping the application could be stalled for a bit, perhaps? Just until I’ve exhausted all possible other candidates for raising the boy.”
Looking puzzled now, “But sir, if Harris isn’t fit to raise Harry, why did you take him there in the first place and give him temporary custody?”
“Oh I’m sure he’s not going to harm the boy in any way, no doubt of that. It’s just that I had to place him with Harris and his adopted son, who is Harry’s other first cousin, as the closest blood relations available for the blood wards. Those are the most protection for him in these trying times and I felt it would be best not to take chances with his safety while sorting things out with the rest of you-know-who’s Death Eaters. There’s the possibility of an unknown, unregulated and potentially dark magic user being an acquaintance of his and could possibly
have access to the boy. Let’s not spread that around in case I’m wrong, but I’m still looking into it, just to be sure.”
“Oh. All right then, headmaster.” Still not looking entirely sure if what she was being asked to do was for the best, Betany Adelaide agreed to stall the application for permanent guardianship, at least for a little while. “I can only give you three months at most, sir. Please have it all settled by then?”
Beaming at her now, Dumbledore hastily assured her, “Of course, no need to worry any more about it, my dear.”
As her head fades from the fireplace, Albus turns back to other matters that really need to be attended soonest.
Slamming the papers onto his desk with a muffled oath, Xander took a deep breath and tried to regain control of his temper.
Coming in from the hallway, the latest guest of the Compound looked around the door in curiosity, “Hey, X, what’s wrong?”
Showing her the form letter, “This BS, that’s what.” He handed it over when she reached for it.
Making a face, she looked up at her friend and commented, “Polite about it though, aren’t they?”
“Yeah, but what if something happens and we NEED those papers to show that we didn’t kidnap the kid when it comes time to travel? I’m really not liking the feeling I’m getting here.”
Faith waved off his concern and suggested, “Come out here with me, there’s something you’re gonna want to see and it’ll take your mind off your troubles for a few minutes at least.”
+ * + * + *+
Following Faith, Xander went out to the children’s play area and he was just in time to hear Laibah talking to her little brothers.
“All right, Jesse, James, you’re both under arrest for stealing the payroll chest. Put ‘em up!”
Xander stopped just out of sight and peeked around the corner to see what was happening, not wanting the sight of him to stop whatever game the kids had going.
His jaw drops open and he stares at the two toddlers, hands slightly in the air and tiny bandanas across their faces, real little cowboy hats were on their heads. The plastic gunbelts slung around their waists had brightly colored water pistols in them and Jesse looked like he was thinking of grabbing for his blue gun instead of surrendering.
Harry, (whose gunbelt was being held on with duct tape as it was too big for his small frame) idolizing his big brother the way he did, was following his lead and was also starting to slowly drop his hand toward his green pistol.
Both boys’ eyes are crinkling at the corners, indicating wide grins underneath their bandanas.
“Don’t even think about it, you dang varmints,” Laibah intoned with as scary a tone as she could muster and a fake accent that nearly made Xander crack up.
Peeking out further to catch a glimpse of his eldest child, Xander saw she had a straw colored cowgirl hat on her head, a shiny plastic sherriff’s star pinned to her purple tank top, a pink water pistol and a green and yellow super soaker to boot. The last is pointed at her younger siblings and it looked like she was about to open fire at the “outlaws.”
Jesse tried to talk their way out of it, still lowering his hands a little at a time, “Be nice, Sheriff. The payroll is enough to share with everybody, we just wanted to make sure we got some too.”
Still trying to sound menacing, the girl told them, “It don’t belong to you! That there payroll belongs to the Mayor and he decides who gets what, based on how much work everybody has done. Now hand it over and I might just let you two off with a warnin’.”
By this time, Xander could see the “payroll chest” and is startled to realize it’s the big plastic cookie jar from the top of the refrigerator in the kitchen.
With loud yells, all the kids went for their water guns and the fight was on.
Xander started laughing, trying to be quiet, but failing miserably.
Three very wet children look up in surprise and all of them get the bright idea to attack him at the same time. With more yells, what “ammunition” is left in the water guns was aimed at their beloved Papa and Faith too, who also produced a super soaker from somewhere and fired back.
In the end, five wet individuals divvied up the contents of the “payroll chest” and drank pink lemonade to wash “treasure” down.
That night, after the boys were safely tucked into bed, Xander, Laibah and Faith were sitting in his office once more. The girl ensconced in her favorite spot, her Papa’s lap.
Faith suggested, “Xander, I have no doubt you’ll clear all this up and get the guardianship. But later on, when you officially adopt this kid too, his name is gonna be enough to get his as- butt kicked on the playground. Harry Harris. Why don’t you simplify his life and call him Jimmy?”
Laibah’s eyes glow at that and she looked up at her father, “Yes, Papa, why don’t we? And Jesse and Harry’s birthdays are so close together, they could have one big party and they could almost be like twins! Please, Papa?” She turned on the puppy dog eyes routine.
Staring from Laibah to Faith, then back to Laibah for a full minute, Xander suddenly mock growled and threw up his hands in defeat. “All right, all right, I’ll try.”
At Laibah’s happy squeal he held up an admonishing finger as he stood with his daughter on his hip to carry her off to bed, “I can’t promise anything though. I’m still waiting to hear back from Dumbledore on the permanent guardianship. I really dread trying to get his help with the official adoption.”
Faith shrugs, “So don’t. You’ve done so much good in the world, call in a favor or two and get the job done quick. Bypass the old fart and his wizard friends, teach him a lesson about not ignoring you in the future.”
Xander turned around from the doorway and leaned down to where she sprawled in the overstuffed chair to kiss her on the cheek, “Thank you, that’s a great idea and I think I’ll do just that. Laibah, how would you like to help your Papa make an international call tomorrow morning?”
Listening to the excited rambling of the girl as her father carried her down the hall, Faith grinned to herself, pleased to be able to help her friend in any way.
Three weeks later and it was a done deal. Harry James Potter was now, Harry James Potter Harris and was affectionately nicknamed Jimmy.
Two days after that, Dumbledore was informed of what had happened and was unable to do anything but stand there gaping.