DISCLAIMER: I own none of the characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer or from the Harry Potter series. I am not making any profit from this.
“The Magic Box,” Severus sneered quietly to the child sleeping in his arms. “How droll.”
The Ministry of Magic, of course, would have screaming fits if they had seen a London shop with such a name being visible to muggles. On the other hand, there were no wizards crazy enough to live on a Hellmouth. Apparently, the same was not true for muggle channelers.
Rolling his eyes, Severus stepped forward and into the shop. A little bell rang above the door and summoned an older gentleman just beginning to gray at his temples. If his research was correct, this man was the companion of the human dragon.
Quickly, he stepped over to the counter and put on his most pleasant expression. It translated into bland boredom, but that was infinitely better than sneering at the man which is what he wanted to do.
“Are you the companion to the Dragon in Human Form?”
The man’s eyes went wide with shock before narrowing in suspicion.
“That…that is an incredibly ancient term. One…one of many that are rarely used. She prefers the title Vampire Slayer.”
“Ah…” Severus shrugged minutely, intrigued that the man was apparently British.
“I am here to fulfill the last wish of Narcissa Black, although she might have gone by the name Malfoy.” He shifted slightly to expose the child in his arms.
He didn’t get any further when the man’s face expressed his confusion. “Who?”
Severus scowled at the man, gritting his teeth over having to deal with an ignorant muggle.
“Narcissa. Tall, blonde, beautiful. She visited this…lovely town over the summer?”
The man shook his head, his confusion evident. “No…sorry.”
“Are you telling me that you slept with the woman and impregnated her and you can’t even bloody remember?!”
“What? No!” The man scowled back, an oddly intimidating sight as it was coming from a muggle. “I’m telling you that I never met the woman at all! I did not have…any liaison with any woman this past summer.”
Severus was confused and annoyed.
“But you are the companion of the dragon? Narcissa insisted the father of Alexander was fighting at her side when they met.”
The man’s face went pale. “Wha…what did you say the child’s name is?”
Severus blinked in surprise. “She named him Alexander for his muggle father. His family name is her own; Black. He is Alexander Black.”
The man stared at the child with wide eyes. “I…I am Rupert Giles. Not…not Xander.”
Then his attention snapped up to Severus and he turned away, gesturing for him to follow. Annoyed, but hoping that he could soon give over the child, he followed Giles past the main shop through a door into a short hallway. One door led to the loo, one appeared to lead down into a basement storage area, there was an open arch into a sort of dojo – most likely for the dragon, and then they went through the last door into an office.
“Sit, sit. Let me call…Xander. I think he’s the one that needs to hear what you have to say. Then, I’ll put on the kettle.”
Sitting in a vaguely uncomfortable chair, Severus was careful not to jostle the sleeping child. Alexander had a surprising loud cry when he was unhappy. He watched and listened as Giles used his muggle telephone to ring up the supposed father and demand he come to the Magic Box as soon as possible.
Then Giles turned to fuss with a kettle and tea set before sighing loudly. “I…I’m sorry about the mix-up. I am Buffy’s Watcher and she is my Slayer. That’s…more of a paternal role than anything else. However, Buffy is unlike any Slayer before. She’s…she has inspired many others to take up the fight against the dark.”
Giles grimaced and shook his head.
“Including one of her age mates that is a young man named Alexander. He goes by the nickname Xander, but…”
Severus didn’t like feeling confused, but he couldn’t help it in this instant. Why would Narcissa take up with an American muggle? A British one was bad enough. And…just how old was this American?
“I do have a question, however.” Giles’ voice broke into his thoughts. He looked up to see the man pour two cups of tea. One ended up on the desk in front of Severus and he nodded in acknowledgement.
“Why…why didn’t the young lady in question bring the child to Xander herself?”
Severus grimaced. “She’s dead.”
“Oh…” There was a moment of silence.
“What do you know about wizardry and wand magic?”
Giles’ eyes went wide.
“Not…not much, I’m afraid. The…users of wanded magic are…are extremely xenophobic. Practically to the point of psychosis. It…it has always been the opinion of the Council that the few benefits of contacting members from one of their hidden enclaves would not make up for the extreme drawbacks and complications. Basically, they were deemed far more trouble than they were worth.”
Severus couldn’t help it. He hissed at hearing his entire world being dismissed as unworthy by a person that would be, nearly universally, looked down upon as barely human by his fellows. He had always prided himself on knowing all about the muggles and their ways…and finding them lacking. This little trip had forced him to acknowledge that in reality he knew very little.
His childhood as the son of a drunkard muggle and living in a very poor neighborhood had given him a very narrow and skewed vision of muggles. Then, isolating himself in the admittedly tiny wizarding enclaves had left him unprepared for the wide variety and diversity of the muggles. Nor had he been prepared for the full effects of their technology. His first transatlantic airplane ride had been quite eye-opening.
“Um…I was speaking, specifically, of the British Wizarding World. What do you know of it?”
Giles shrugged even as he leaned back and his eyes unfocused in thought.
“Well, they’ve been in a state of civil war for over a thousand years. Oh…the war occasionally runs down into a tenuous truce for a decade or two before it picks up again. I believe they are constantly fighting over what to do about those without wand magic. One group wanting to kill us all off and the other wanting to enslave us, I believe.”
Severus blinked. A thousand years of rich and detailed history between the Light and the Dark boiled down to a squabble between those that are evil and those that are even more evil. He was momentarily aghast.
“That does not worry you?”
Giles snorted inelegantly. “Lord no. As long as they continue to fight amongst themselves, they will be left alone to do as they wish.”
Left alone?... Severus blinked again. This blasé attitude either meant Giles wasn’t fully aware of the situation or he knew about some power that Severus didn’t. Of course, he could just mean that the muggles would eventually overwhelm the wizards. The muggles did have numbers on their side, after all.
“What does this have to do with the child’s mother?”
Severus sighed. “Narcissa…was a witch. A wand witch, not a channeler like you would find around here.”
“Her…husband is very involved in that…civil war you mentioned. Which, by the way, is being fought again. The leader of the Dark is a…monstrous construction of a dark wraith and a necromanticly created body that calls himself Lord Vo…Voldemort.”
Severus shivered at saying the name.
“Lucius was furious that his wife bore the child of another man. That the man was a muggle was even worse. He attacked her moments after she gave birth. She was able to protect the child, but was injured greatly. Narcissa escaped with the babe, but died shortly after arriving to safety.”
Severus looked down at the sleeping child in his arms. “It was her dying wish that I bring her child to his father.”
“Oh…” Giles’ hand trembled around his teacup. “Oh, dear.”
The baby fussed in his arms at the shout.
“Giles! What’s the what?” Three young people barely out of their teens rushed into the room, faces filled with worry and excitement. There was a blond girl that had to be the Slayer, a redheaded female that literally swam with the energies and magics flowing around her. And finally, a dark haired…boy with brown eyes and a wide mobile mouth.
Oh, Merlin…how could she? He was barely older than Draco!
“Er…Xander.” Giles began. “Do…uh, do remember meeting a young lady this past summer? Narcissa Black?”
All three of them nodded and then the young man’s jaw dropped for a moment.
“Is that her name? I thought she said her name was Wiltshire?”
Severus blinked again. That was becoming a bad habit.
“No.” The redhaired channeler nudged him in the ribs. “Cissy said she was from Wiltshire. That wasn’t her name.”
Severus cut Giles off by standing up and turning to face the…boy.
“I…regret to inform you that Narcissa…is no longer among the living.”
All three of them gasped and the boy paled, his eyes focused tightly on the child in Severus’ arms.
“Upon discovering her child was not his, her former husband disowned her, divorced her, and then…beat her to death.”
“no…” It was a hoarse whisper of horror.
“Her last request, given on her death bed, was that I bring her child to his father.”
Severus stepped forward and carefully deposited the baby into the young man’s arms. When he did so, a bright white glow flashed and the child began to wail.
“Thus do I fulfill my magical vow.”