The More Things Change...
... the more they stay the same
Xander sat in the kitchen, reading today’s Prophet and drinking coffee. He downed the rest of the cup, and set it on the counter next to him.
He heard someone coming down the stairs, and he looked up to see Giles entering with the same green cup he’d used in the library at the school as well as another, more generic, white number that looked identical to the cups in his own apartment here at the Council.
“Xander,” Giles greeted the other man on his way to the coffee press. He patted Xander’s shoulder with his free hand on the way by.
“Hey, G-Man.” he grinned as he heard the older man sigh.
“I was going to say that it was good to have you back, but you’ve spoiled the moment.” Giles was klunking around behind him, filling the kettle and setting it on the stove to boil.
“That’s me,” Xander said, not looking up from the paper as he turned a page. “King of Cretins, Spoiler of Moments.”
Xander folded the paper after a moment and looked at Giles.
“You’re quiet. You haven’t even asked me what I’m doing here or how long I’m staying like everyone else has, and Draco’s made lots comments about me needing a haircut until I got one. Now he’s on to cyclops jokes. What’s the what? Something on your mind?”
“It’s useless,” Andromeda said, walking in and not even noticing Xander for looking at Giles. “I can’t find my left shoe. It’s gone or wedged or something. My wand’s not even drawing it out. I may just have to go pick Teddy up from Harry’s with no shoes.”
She wrapped her arms around him from behind and rest her cheek on his back. This was when she noticed Xander. Andromeda immediately dropped her arms and took a step back.
“Strike my last question, Giles. I see now,” Xander said, grinning in a Cheshire manner. “Hello, Giles’ special lady-friend who looks a lot like Andromeda from the coven but with way more bedhead and no shoes.”
Andromeda glared. “Hello, Xander.”
“It’s probably behind the dresser,” Giles told her. “It has a mind of its own sometimes, and captures things for its own amusement.” He turned to Xander. “I’m terribly sorry, Xander, for neglecting you, even though I spoke to you on a weekly basis when you were abroad and I was the one who got you the portkeys from the Ministry of Magic.” He paused. “However, now that you mention it, I don’t think I do know how long you intend to stay.”
“Forever,” Xander said. “Sam can do all this hunting by himself. He doesn’t need me. I was mostly there for the color commentary, and he didn’t even like that all that much. Plus, it’s not like I could have avoided Anya forever. We’ve talked and it’s cool. Well, it’s weird, but not any weirder than anything else we’ve seen. Also, with Willow being all black-eyed girl and Buffy dating someone who could create his own army of darkness, maybe I should be here. You know, with my own slayer and stuff. Like a real watcher. I think I even have a tweed jacket somewhere.”
Andromeda hadn’t spend a great deal of time around Xander, but he’d just said a lot and very quickly. In a way it reminded her of her nephew. Draco had this bad habit of spewing tons of information in a matter of seconds.
“Well, not that my opinion on the staff matters in the least,” she said. “But I know Willow will be pleased to have you here on a more permanent basis, but if you make any more comments about my bedhead, I’ll be forced to show that a few of the more charming facets of Draco’s personality are hereditary.”
Xander grinned. He’d always liked strong women who spoke their minds. Hopefully this would work out because it would be nice for Giles to have a girlfriend that didn’t get killed or frightened off by the craziness in his life. Anyone related to Draco couldn’t scare that easily.
Giles looked pleased. “If you hex him, that means that I don’t have to later.” He kissed her quickly on the way to the drawer where the wooden chopsticks were kept. He said to Xander, “As it happens, we do have a currently unassigned slayer. Do you still enjoy hugs?”
“If it’s a slayer doing the hugging, like I could stop her,” Xander said.
Andromeda knew he was speaking of Alice, but she honestly didn’t know who Draco would react. He’d been taking up her training since watcher was killed and seemed rather protective of the girl.
Having found a wooden chopstick, he shut the drawer and went back over to the French press. “That is, of course so long as Draco doesn’t officially take her on. He’s been overseeing her training since George passed.”
He scooped the ground coffee into the carafe and poured hot water into it. Then he stirred it with the chopstick, and put the top on.
“Do I have to be the one to talk to Draco about it?” Xander asked. “Because I can see that going oh-so well.”
Andromeda chuckled. She knew how Draco could be, and from what she knew of Xander, they were quite different and likely clashed often.
“But Alice does seem nice. A little weird, but ok.”
“We’re all a little weird, Xander,” Giles commented, monitoring his watch. “You more than most. If Draco proves immovable, we could also take some of the load off of my plate.”
“I thought that was what Anya was here for,” Xander said. “And you know what she’s like when she thinks someone is moving in on her territory. I like all my manly bits situated exactly where they are right now, thanks.”
Andromeda pursed her lips not to smile.
Giles also made an effort not to show any amusement. “Actually, I meant Caridad, Rona, or Shannon. Or all three.”
“So Alice and three of the Sunnydale slayers? I don’t know if you’re punishing me or have extreme faith in my meager abilities.”
“Perhaps a bit of both,” Giles responded candidly. He slowly pushed the plunger down on the press.
Xander nodded. “All right.”
Honestly, he’d sort of missed having to fix things and deal with stuff while he’d been abroad.
“Do we need to have a talk about girlfriends spending the night?” Xander asked playfully.
Andromeda just raised a brow.
So did Giles. He recovered quickly, and began pouring coffee into the cups in front of him. “That depends. Shall we also discuss why Aziza was walking through the background of your last video call from Nairobi dressed in nothing but a sheet?”
He knew that there was most likely nothing serious going on between Xander and the lead slayer in Eastern Africa, but he must admit that he was curious. He sure as hell wasn’t going to talk about Andromeda with Xander Harris.
Face completely serious, Xander replied, “That’s what she wears. Those were her clothes. You thought it was a bedsheet? You know not everyone wears tweed.”
Xander opened the paper back up and flipped it up to cover his face.
Andromeda snickered softly. He reminded her of Remus whenever someone would question him about Nymphadora before they were married - when Remus was convinced that he was bad for her daughter. There would be a lot of huffing and pulling a book in front of his face in an attempt to avoid the discussion.
“Andromeda, Darling,” Giles prompted, “Do you smell something burning? Possibly... Denim?”
She started chuckling. “Xander, you might want to tell Rupert that you’re an adult and who is trotting around behind you in bedsheets is none of his affair.”
“Still having to explain how that was just her outfit,” Xander said, not lowering the paper. “And can you not call him Rupert? It’s icky.”
Andromeda laughed loudly. “High marks on the denial. You’re almost outdoing my daughter’s husband every time I asked him about her.”
Xander flipped the paper down. “Oh God, stop.”
Giles looked amused. “Why would we?”
“Because I’m not the one who’s girlfriend is prancing around in the kitchen doling out hugs with no shoes on and a serious hairstyle courtesy of a pillow. And I’m leaving before the talk gets disturbing. I’ll just go see what my slayers are doing. Since I have slayers.”
Andromeda waited until after he left to laugh.
Or so she thought.
“I can still hear you, dammit. I don’t walk that fast,” he called.
“You don’t have slayers yet!” Giles called after him. “Also, I have personally met Aziza, and she does not bloody well wear a bedsheet!”