A Perfect Fit
He’d been in London. Xander had finally gotten a haircut and a shave. He’s also bought a pair shoes. They were like no shoes he had ever seen before so he hoped they met with approval. Apparently there was a Gianmarco Lorenzi shoe shop on South Molton Street in London. Who knew?
He was proud of these shoes
, though. They were black with a silver heel that had a snake wrapped around it that had a green Swarovski crystal for the eye. The bottoms and inside of the shoes were bright green. They were very Slytherin. He’d done his homework. She had said no red or pink. These definitely fit that bill. He had them gift wrapped in a nice black box with a big green ribbon. It had cost him a pretty penny, but it would be worth it.
Xander didn’t have anyone to spend on right now, and the fact that Draco obviously wanted him nowhere near Pansy was a bonus. He had possibly spent too much time around Spike.
Pansy almost collapsed in shock when she received the message from the front desk that a strange American wearing an eye-patch was in the lobby waiting for her. She had no idea how he found her or even how he managed to make it into Diagon Alley, since he was a Muggle. She knew Draco wouldn’t tell where she lived since he was vehemently opposed to their...whatever this was and Blaise wouldn’t tell where she lived because he had a strong sense of self-preservation.
She made her way down the lift to the lobby. He may have found where she lived, but he was not finding out what room she was staying in. As Pansy neared the main lobby, she slowed, sticking to the shadows. Her eyes roamed over the patrons milling about in the area. Most were wearing robes, so his wardrobe wouldn’t stand out too much. There were, to her chagrin, many elderly wizards with long, untamed beards, but they were all silver.
When she finally did see him, Pansy clenched her jaw to stop it from dropping open. He was well-groomed, unlike the last time they met, and while his clothes weren’t designer or even traditional robes, he still looked nice.
And he had a box under his arm. A box with the letters G
printed in silver on the side. Pansy narrowed her eyes. Did he really think that putting a pair of knock-offs in a real box would impress her?
She marched over, waving away an employee asking after her. Her Gucci heels - authentic, of course - clicked across the marble as she walked over. “I don’t suppose asking how you found me would garner an answer, would it?” she asked lightly.
Xander turned and smiled at her. “I find people for a living. It’s what I do for the Council, and you don’t exactly keep a low profile. Also, you make an impression on people. They remember you. Someone like that? Not hard to find. As for the exact method I used, those are trade secrets.”
She looked really super annoyed with him right now. It was a look Xander was all too familiar with from many and varied people. It was as comforting as his favorite sneakers.
“This is yours,” he said, handing her the box.
Pansy scoffed and untied the ribbon. She tossed it at him, along with the box top. When the tissue paper inside was pushed aside, Pansy froze.
They almost looked real. She ran a finger along the leather and judging by the silky texture, it was
real leather. After repeating the motion on the underside, she could tell the fabric was real silk. Almost with desperation, she looked at the snake wrapped around the heel. If there was one thing Pansy could instantly tell was fake, it was jewels. This was no cheap plastic. It was real. Crystal.
She inhaled sharply and looked up at him, speechless.
The glorified bricklayer had just picked up another spare. Xander smiled.
“I hope you like them because I so don’t want to go back to exchange them. The salesgirls in this place were really snotty. I don’t have your wine with me, but I talked to someone at the Zanini vineyards, I can’t remember which one, and they’re sending it. I know people who know people.”
She was still staring at him with this speechless look.
“What? Is this cos when we met I was all scruffy? I’d been living out of a knapsack and sleeping mostly on the ground or in huts and stuff. Not a lot of razors or even running showers around. Had to get used to being civilized again. I try and think of my time abroad as a super camping trip. That makes me seem less like a bum who didn’t get a haircut for almost a year in my head.”
She was still staring.
“Hello?” Xander waved a hand in front of her face. “You need to sit down or something?”
Pansy never tried to become a good judge of character because she honestly just didn’t care, but she seemed to be horribly off in this instance. She normally put people in two categories: those she could stand to be around and everyone else. This man seemed to fit into both at the same time.
Now she understood why Draco kept telling her no. She always did enjoy a man who could afford her, but this was different. Pansy did not enjoy, however, not knowing how to proceed. She grabbed the box lid from where she had tossed it at the man and put it on carefully.
She snapped at a nearby employee. He immediately came over and Pansy held out the shoe box. “Take this to my suite. And be careful
with it,” she warned.
“Right away, Miss Parkinson.”
With narrowed eyes, she put her hands on her hips and turned back to the man in front of her. She realized she didn’t even know his name and had never really properly introduced herself. He had bought her shoes--good shoes, expensive
shoes--so he at least deserved an introduction, and not the one that the wolf had tossed out when they first met.
Pansy held out her hand. Yes, she normally didn’t shake, but she would make an exception. “We haven't been properly introduced. Pansy Parkinson.”
Xander took the hand offered him and put firm pressure on it, but not enough to hurt at all. Giles had told him once that if anything, a firm handshake would go a very long way to make a good impression. After what all Oz had told him, he needed to tread carefully here.
“Xander Harris. Well, Alexander, but no one ever calls me that. I get a variety of unsavory nicknames those usually come by way of Spike, or I get Xand by Willow, Oz and Buffy. The vampires tend to go with Harris, as does the Snape-y one. Actually, I do believe Buffy and I decided he was Ninja Wizard, Hexer of Draco. Very funny stuff watching that blonde head tumble all over the floor. And I’m talking way too much.”
He was also still holding her hand.
While it was true Pansy didn’t shake hands and expected a kiss on the knuckles when she offered her hand--she was a lady, after all--she knew that he was not raised to treat her like Draco or Blaise. But he didn’t pump their hands up and down or assume she couldn’t give or receive a firm handshake, which she appreciated.
“Snape calls everyone by their last names. Most of us do. As it is, you have a perfectly normal name and I shall use it.”
He was still holding her hand. She raised an eyebrow at him. “Plan on letting me go anytime soon?”
He released her hand. She was pretty and frosty and it had been a while since he’d been in a position to make small talk with someone who didn’t know almost every little thing about him.
“Oh. Right. Sorry,” Xander said. “Xander’s fine. I would prefer it to anything Draco calls me. He’s just mean, and I’m not as good at thinking up descriptive insults.”
Pansy smiled at him indulgently. “When you get your own name, you are accepted. It’s a form of affection, almost. Keep that in mind the next time he attacks you verbally.”
“Does the same apply to sarcastic bleached blonde vampires? Because if so, Spike might have had a disturbing crush on me in that case.”
She didn’t know who Spike was. Or she might if Draco had talked about LA.
“So... you live in a hotel? And you travel a lot. Not too different from me there. Only you were fancy about it.”
different from you, or did you also flee the country for fear of being pushed into a marriage proposal by your parents?” Pansy asked with her eyebrow raised. Instead of standing around the lobby, she began to walk to a seating area off one of the hallways. She didn’t want to have a conversation in public, especially with an American Muggle. People would talk.
Pansy didn’t ask if he would like to come with her. She just left and expected him to follow. If he didn’t, she would simply go up to her rooms and try on her new shoes.
Xander made a face and followed her. “Um, no, I fled the country because some demon brought my demon ex girlfriend who died in the second to the last averted apocalypse back from the dead. It messed with my head a little. I needed to clear it. She and I had almost gotten married once. It’s very weird when a loved one comes back from the dead.”
She sat down gingerly on a secluded chair. There was a matching chair across from her. “I’m very much aware of the sensation. However, being on a first-name basis with a necromancer, I believe I shall have to get used to it.”
Xander leveled his gaze at her. “So you’re friends with Buffy’s boyfriend? He would have been useful to have around in 2001 instead of us having to contact Osiris. Snakes out of mouths? Not the party pleaser you might think.”
Pansy gave him a small smile. “I grew up with him. There was a group of a us that grew up together and still keep in touch. He is a part of that group, although we just discovered his ability.”
“I grew up with Willow,” Xander said. “You guys all call her the Dark One, but to me she’s just Willow. It’s always the quiet ones you have to worry about, so obviously I’m no threat.”
She was just staring at him with no expression.
“He joked,” Xander said.
“Do you do that often?” she asked.
“What? Make jokes? Yes,” he replied. “We already talked about this. I joke all the time. Even about serious stuff. Not to say I can’t be serious, I can. I just... things tend to be depressing anyhow, so why let it drag you down? This one time when everyone was sad, I summoned a song and dance demon. I thought it would be nice, like a musical and stuff. Turns out not so much. And he was supposed to take the summoner as his hellbride. I still don’t know to this day if I am offended that he said he would pass on that part of the deal.”
Her eyebrow rose. “Do you summon demons very often?”
“Not on purpose,” Xander said. “But I do tend to attract them for some reason. I don’t know. Maybe I put out some sort of demon pheromone?”
Pansy’s nose wrinkled. That sounded very unpleasant. “Keep your pheromones off my clothes.”
Xander pulled up a bit of his shirt to sniff. “I just had this washed. It had better smell like laundry detergent.”
She rolled her eyes. There were times when he seemed like a proper gentleman and then there were times when his uncouthness showed through. “I’m so pleased you wore clean clothes to visit me.”
“Well yeah. You go visiting a fancy lady to take her a pair of crazy shoes, you wear clean clothes. You go to sleep in a hut on a beach in Thailand, you possibly go for shorts and flipflops.”
“Speaking of,” she said lightly, running her fingers along the chair arm. “You purchased genuine Gianmarco Lorenzi heels for me and it isn’t my birthday or Christmas. Is there a special occasion I am not aware of?”
“Does ‘I wanted to see the look on your face’ count as a special occasion? I dunno. I just felt like it. You were looking at me like I was a homeless dude that had wandered in off the streets. You know all that wander are not lost. Just know you’re not getting anything from me for Christmas, young lady.”
Pansy smirked. “We’ll see about that.”
Xander made a face. “What? You plan to wrestle a gift out of me? Good luck with that.” He considered all the images that brought to mind. “Wait a minute. On second thought, have at it. I might actually enjoy that.”
Just as he had ways to find her, she had ways to manipulate people to give her things. “You have your abilities and I have mine. I still need my wine, after all.”
“You have wrestling abilities? That’s awesome. Oil, mud or Jell-o?”
Pansy glared at him. “I beg your pardon?”
“Oh, right, you guys don’t call Jell-o Jell-o here. I think you call it jelly. Sometimes people get in a bit vat of it and wrestle one another. You know... for fun.”
“That sounds absolutely vile and I cannot believe you would assume I would actually engage in such a...completely disgusting activity,” Pansy ended with a sneer.
Xander sighed loudly. “And I was doing so well.”
She still had this look on her face like she smelled something bad.
“It’s actually fun. You do know about fun, right?”
“Of course,” she replied. “But yet again, we have different definitions of fun and humor. I don’t do dirt or anything that would keep me anything except pristine.”
Xander frowned. “That kind of makes me feel sad for you. I know you like to be clean and stuff, but sometimes it’s fun to be dirty.”
Then he made a face because he realized how that sounded.
“In an actual dirt way not a sex way. Not that being sexy dirty isn’t fun too... and I’m just going to stop talking about it now.”
Pansy chuckled. Not that she slept around and not that she would ever, ever
sleep with him, but his eventual segue into sex amused her. “Have sexual escapades in the mud often?”
Xander pretended to think about it. “No, not really.”
At least she was laughing and not thinking he was awkward. Or she could be laughing because he was awkward. He thought people were supposed to grow out of that phase.
She chuckled before she could stop herself. He was amusing in the same way she found tormenting Hufflepuffs amusing. But unlike bumbling Hufflepuffs or Gryffindors who became riled up, no matter what she threw at him, he let it roll off him. Slytherins were notoriously bad at doing so. He claimed to have a terrible life but he didn’t let it rule him like most of their little group. It was...intriguing. Luckily, she was not a Ravenclaw.
“And what do
you do in your spare time, besides run around the world looking like a wild man?”
“I dunno... stuff. I hang out with my friends. Try to experience new things. Mostly I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. I guess I’ll go explore the wizard shopping thing, and I like the Three Broomsticks place. That was fun, but I think my dancing may have scared a few people.”
Pansy had only stepped inside that place once, during school, on a dare. When she was dared to step into the Hog’s Head, she hexed the darer and never played Truth or Consequences again.
She didn’t believe they had the same idea when it came to a dance.
you enter the Alley?”
“I grew up on a hellmouth. I think that has something to do with it, and I see things normal people ignore most of the time. They choose not to notice the new guy has cold hands or the girl they just met at the club has eyes that glow a little bit. Most people ignore magic because they think it doesn’t exist. I know it does. Half the time I’m out looking for it, so I see.”
“Must be a lot of work for one eye,” she said in a low tone. The black patch wrapped around his head intrigued her since almost everything could be regrown. If the body rejected the new growth, there were always false limbs and appendages, such as Moody’s glass eye.
Xander frowned. “I don’t want to talk about... that, okay? It wasn’t a good time for me, and I pretty much thought that the rest of me would be joining that eye in being a gooey mush.”
He so did not want to talk about having his eye gouged out with the princess, here. She’d probably make a lot of eww noises and maybe feel sorry for him for being handicapped. He didn’t like to think of himself as being less than. He knew he could be, but that didn’t mean he liked to think about it.
Pansy’s eyebrow rose in surprise. She honestly expected him to make a joke. Usually when she inquired about topics that were sensitive, others would try to steer the topic away or politely change the subject. He came right out and said he wouldn’t speak of such things. Perhaps the wound was too fresh.
That didn’t mean she would stop.
“Have I found something that you won’t joke about then?”
“No, I joke about it, but it’s a gross story, and you’ve already mentioned you don’t do icky things. I even have a decorative eye patch that a woman in India made for me. It has little jewels sewn on it. I can’t imagine wearing it, but I do like the one Oz got me as a joke that has an eye painted on it.”
He refused to let her know she had found something he didn’t care to joke about. He did, but just to keep people from seeing how much it bothered him sometimes.
Pansy sat back. She wasn’t positive, but she thought he was lying. She believed she had found a weakness, and like any good Slytherin, she would wait to exploit it until she needed to. Let him make his jokes and laugh too loud until they moved to lighter topics. She would remember this in the future.
“Well,” she said after a moment, “if I must, I know what I shall get you for Christmas.”
Xander made a face. “I already have a nice set of steak knives, but thanks. It really is the thought that counts.”
Then he smiled widely at her. She seemed to get annoyed when he didn’t take her bait and purposefully mistook her meaning.
“You’re being purposefully difficult. Does this behavior irritate no one?”
“It actually irritates a lot of people,” Xander said, nodding his head. “I get a lot of glares and Xander
s in that tone that suggests someone might want to try strangling me.”
“Might? I’m surprised no one has tried to act on the impulse,” she snapped. He was very vexing. One moment, he was amusing and the next she wanted to curse him so hard he flew through the windows.
“Actually, someone has,” he said, thinking about Faith when she was bad. “She was having some issues at the time, not so much to do with me, more to do with her, but I almost died.”
"Now we get to the fun stories," Pansy said with a grin. "Do tell more."
“No way,” Xander said. “Though I would be willing to tell the story about how I had a witch cast a love spell on me and it went wrong and every woman in Sunnydale went nuts except for the one I wanted it to work on. It made her immune. It was very bitches be crazy.”
Pansy snorted. “Love spells are so very temperamental. There are easier ways to bewitch someone. Of course, the truly wonderful person doesn’t need
to bewitch anyone.”
“I was seventeen,” Xander said. “Don’t tell me you never did anything dumb as a teenager. You’re friends with Draco. I refuse to believe you never got sucked into one of his shenanigans.”
Pansy’s chin lifted slightly. “As a matter of fact, I did not. I simply watched from afar. I never did anything...dumb.”
Xander sighed. “You’re going to force me to ask him, aren’t you? You know he’ll tell me. Draco’s a huge gossip.”
The only possible dumb thing Draco could claim she did was wear that horrid pink monstrosity to Yule Ball in their fourth year. She would deny it vehemently. “Nothing to tell,” she insisted.
Xander just raised his eyebrow. They’d just see about that.