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Xirius Business

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This story is No. 2 in the series "Xiriously Black". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Xander Harris, formerly and once again Sirius Black, begins his new life.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > Xander-CenteredGreywizardFR13410,11636125,51624 Aug 113 Sep 13No

Chapter Two

Author’s Note 1: Many thanks to Bill Haden and Theo (Starway_Man) for beta-ing this story.

Author’s Note 2: As usual, “word” indicates speech, :: word :: indicates mental communication and { word } indicates a character's thoughts.

Author’s Note 3: This is story #10 in my own personal Christmas Fic-A-Day Challenge.

~/~/~

Ministry of Magic
London, England
Level Nine – Department of Mysteries

December 6, 2001
Mid-morning


"Good morning, Mr. Black. You may call me Cinnabar. I appreciate your agreeing to meet with me this morning."

The speaker was a lovely, seemingly young, black haired and dark-complected woman, who had risen from her desk inside one of the small, unobtrusive offices lining the wall opposite the lift Xander had taken to get down to the Department.

"Well, considering that I didn't have a whole lot of things planned for this morning, I figured I could spare an hour or so, Cinnabar," Xander returned the small smile the woman gave him as he sat down in the chair opposite her. "Especially after you took the time to personally ask Hermione Granger to convey your invitation to drop by, at my earliest convenience.

"And, I'll admit, I was also somewhat curious about exactly what it is that you'd like to discuss with me," Xander admitted.

"Of course. Well, would you like something to drink?" Cinnabar politely asked.

"I wouldn't mind a cup of coffee," Xander said, and wasn't at all surprised when a house elf, wearing a set of robes with a small Ministry insignia on the left blouse appeared an instant later with a carafe of coffee, a variety of sweeteners and small pitchers of both milk and cream.

"Thank you," the currently spatially-displaced Scooby automatically said to the small pointy-eared creature.

"You're quite welcome," the elf replied before popping away, leaving a slightly surprised and somewhat amused young man behind it.

"I'm guessing your Department is just chock-full of surprises," Xander commented as he glanced over at the smirking woman to his side.

"I would certainly hope it is," Cinnabar replied, as she took a sip from her own cup of what looked and smelled like chamomile tea to Xander.

"Well, let’s get down to business. You're an extremely interesting man, Mr. Black," Cinnabar said, after a moment's silence had passed between them.

"After disappearing through an archway located in what’s colloquially referred to as 'The Death Room' nearly six and a half years ago while in a battle with a group of Death Eaters, you then unexpectedly reappear in the company of both Harry Potter, the man who defeated Voldemort and Hermione Granger, a witch who took down a dozen Death Eaters, by herself, while defending Potter's back," the black-haired woman laid out the bare details of their respective stories.

"And, if that weren’t enough," the Unspeakable then went on, when Harris made no comment to her previous statement, "you show up looking like a man literally half your actual age, *and* not looking at all the way you did when you actually were the age you appear to be."

"Yeah, well, you know what they say – some people age well, some don't," Harris shrugged in response, before taking a sip of his coffee.

"True. But you also happen to bear a very strong resemblance to an American named Alexander Harris. Someone who has been identified, by various nonhuman magical groups or societies with whom the Department maintains contact, as an associate of a young woman named Buffy Summers. She is also reputed to be a mythical, homicidal creature known as the Vampire Slayer," the witch then continued her semi-soliloquy.

"If you were told anything at all about this Alexander Harris character you mentioned, Cinnabar, then I would have expected that you would know that insulting his friends is most definitely *not* the way to get on his good side," Xander stated quietly, the polite smile on his face not altering in the least as he put his cup down on the small table to his left, even as the atmosphere in the room seemed to drop several degrees.

"You're correct, Mr. Black," the woman agreed. "That is exactly what I was told.

"But when you consider the fact that simply looking like someone else is remarkably easy to accomplish in our world, I think that you would also have to agree that witnessing another person's reactions is generally a much more meaningful and reliable method when attempting to verify someone's identity," Cinnabar pointed out in a reasonable tone of voice.

"You might have a point there," Black grudgingly concurred after a moment's consideration. "But still, doing that isn't going to win you any brownie points, regardless of what your reasons might be," he added frostily.

Cinnabar's forehead wrinkled at his comment, as though she weren't sure she completely understood his meaning, but Black ignored that as he continued speaking.

"You obviously invited me here for reasons other than witnessing my reactions to you badmouthing one of my friends, Cinnabar," the Head of House Black said as he looked at the woman seated opposite him, "so why don’t you just tell me what they are, and I can either tell you I'm not interested, or we can get down to discussing business?"

"You're just as blunt as I was informed you were, Lord Black," Cinnabar smiled again, as though pleased at that revelation. "Very well, then, let's get down to business, as you put it.

"As you are doubtless well aware, the Wizarding World generally refrains from as much interaction with the muggle world as possible," she stated, and Xander nodded his head in agreement with what appeared to be a glaringly obvious observation.

"There are smaller groups of wizards and witches established throughout the various magical governments, however, who have been tasked to keep an eye on the progress the non-magical world makes. This is so as to allow us to maintain our independence and, hopefully, provide us with warning of any large-scale social or political developments that might threaten magical society," Cinnabar went on, her statement gaining another nod of either understanding or agreement from the wizard across from her. (Which, exactly, it might be, she wasn't at all sure.)

"On October 23, and again on November 5, of this year, our seers registered several large releases of what the muggles would call ‘chronal radiation’ along the western coast of America," Cinnabar informed Xander, "and according to the various sources we have managed to establish within the muggle governments, there were no authorized tests involving chronal experimentation, either official or unofficial, scheduled to be performed at any government facilities located anywhere in that region."

"And this concerns me, how?" Xander asked with a shrug, not indicating by any change of expression or body language that he recognized the first date the witch had cited as being the same day that Buffy had experienced a time dilation experience, as well as a series of various time loop repetitions. Or that the Scoobies suspected all of the occurrences had apparently been staged as some sort of attack upon the resurrected Slayer, by persons currently unknown.

"As I indicated earlier," Cinnabar replied, "as Alexander Harris, you have managed to establish a reputation of sorts among various magical groups. You are considered a person who is observant, persistent and not easily deterred by beings or behavior that most members of Wizarding society take great pains to avoid, under any circumstances.

"Based on that reputation, we – and by 'we,' I am referring to the Ministry's Department of Mysteries – would like hire you to investigate the two chronal disturbances I just spoke of, for us," she finished up.

"Assuming that I was interested in doing something along those lines for you and your people," Xander said, dropping into the standard opening line for negotiations, "exactly what could you possibly offer me that would make it worth my time and effort?"

"I rather doubt the standard inducements would work; I am, after all, already quite comfortably established as far as both money and social position are concerned…"

~/~/~

Gringotts Wizarding Bank
Diagon Alley
London, England

Later that afternoon


"The credit transfer has completed per your direction – Xander," the goblin named Scrapeclaw informed his client from his position behind his desk, the barely noticeable shift in his expression as he addressed the expatriate Scooby the only indication of his discomfort with the familiarity the only-recently-returned wizard had insisted on him using.

"The mortgage for the Summers residence has been paid in full, and funds sufficient to provide both females with an comfortable, but not excessive, standard of living for the next several years have been transferred to the appropriate institutions," Scrapeclaw stated as he sorted the various parchments on his desk into what were, apparently, the proper piles.

"The monies will be explained as proceeds resulting from various insurance policies the deceased muggle named Joyce Summers had procured, but which had been misfiled and lost until now," the small humanoid continued his explanation, glancing up as though to determine his client's reaction.

"Good," Xander nodded approvingly at hearing that news.

"I just don't want either Buffy or Dawn ever knowing that the money's coming from me," Black told his account manager firmly. "Even though they need it, they won't want to accept it, thanks to their…well, I suppose pride is the best word for it. They'll consider it charity, and that will lead to...problems.

"Seriously, Scrapeclaw, I don’t want to deal with Buffy and Dawn thinking I'm giving them a handout or something, just because they’re having to deal with huge debts at the moment," Xander added with a bit of a resigned sigh at the obstinacy of both of the women under discussion.

"I understand. And if I may say so, you have already shown yourself to be significantly different from the vast majority of the wizards and witches with whom I typically deal, Lord Bl – Xander," Scrapeclaw said, pausing for a moment in his handling of the aforementioned parchments, "so I believe that, if you would consent to answering several questions which I have made note of while reviewing the current Black family situation, it is possible that I might be able to provide you with alternative solutions to this problem you are currently attempting to deal with."

"Okay, manager mine, that sounds good to me," Xander nodded with a somewhat relieved expression on his face upon hearing the goblin's suggestion. "I definitely need to find out exactly what the state of the family finances are, anyway. So, go ahead, and ask away."

"Thank you – Xander," Scrapeclaw nodded his acknowledgement of Black's response and picked up one of the sheets of parchment lying off to one side, looked at it as if to confirm it was the one he wanted. Then he peered over the upper frame of his glasses at Xander and asked, "If you are concerned about Consort Summers' financial situation, but do not desire to deal with it under the purview of the House of Black, there is one option that immediately springs to mind. You could simply transfer a sufficient amount of money from one of the Black vaults directly to her muggle bank account and then renounce your contract with her, rather than expending the effort required to make the funds appear to be a result of her mother's insurance policies, as I noted earlier?"

"Whoa, hang on a second. Scrapeclaw, did you just refer to Buffy as – Consort Summers?" Xander asked the goblin, a somewhat bewildered expression on his face.

"Indeed, I did, Xander," the goblin nodded his confirmation of the wizard's question before then continuing on with his own queries.

"Also, if there is concern about severing Consort Summers' financial affairs – as well as her legal affairs, I would assume – from those of House Black, are you considering performing the same type of actions with both Consort Rosenberg and Consort Giles?" Scrapeclaw went on, a bland expression on his face as he continued with his questioning. "If so, then you will need to provide sufficient documented justification for doing so. Otherwise, they will most likely be able to successfully challenge your actions before the Wizengamot."

"Consort Rosenberg? Consort Giles?" Xander repeated numbly, his expression of confusion growing even more acute as his mind tried to reboot and provide some sort of justification for the questions Scrapeclaw had just asked him.

"Yes, Xander," Scrapeclaw nodded his head again in response to the other's obviously flabbergasted questions, a look of confusion now appearing upon his own non-human features as a result of Black’s facial expression.

"And finally, if you do decide to sever your Consorts' financial and legal concerns from those of House Black, what actions are you contemplating taking with regard to your daughter, Dawn Summers-Harris-Rosenberg-Giles-Black?"

"MY WHAT?!!"

The somewhat loud shout was enough to make quite a few goblins glance in their direction, and Scrapeclaw *finally* realized that he might have misunderstood just what his wizard client had intended to accomplish with his actions here today.

TBC...
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