Author’s note: I do NOT do Hagrid’s “voice” justice, I know, but I’m trying. Hope you can all enjoy it anyway.
Hagrid arrived at the Compound for his bi-monthly visit and buzzed the intercom at the gate. Before he could say a word, the Slayer on duty was already coming out of the gatehouse to let him in.
“How are you, Hagrid?” The dark skinned young woman asked.
Smiling at the (to him) tiny girl, he replied, “Oh, ’M fine, Astrid. How are things ‘ereabouts? Have you run into any more interestin’ creatures since we spoke last, lass?”
Laughing now, the slayer opened the gate and began an animated conversation with the man. She’d found a kindred spirit in him, wanting to try and raise the most bizarre looking magical creatures and even some of the smaller demons as pets, trying the “nurture-vs-nature” argument.
A few months before, Xander had nearly been apoplectic when he’d discovered a nest of baby grik’nak demons in a far corner of the property. He’d had words with the duo about their habits of trying to gentle creatures whose every instinct was to kill, rend and tear humans and made them promise to never bring any INTO the Compound ever again. If they wanted to try and do that they were to build a SECURE facility outside the grounds and take multiple safety precautions to boot. He had several of his fellow Watchers taking turns, along with him, to keep an eye on anything they brought into that small facility. Another rule was to never try and raise more than one species at a time.
Keeping all of that in the back of his mind while talking to Astrid, Hagrid was therefore surprised to see Xander come jogging up to the gate with a small pack of Hyenas all around him. The half giant’s voice trailed off as the animals surrounded him and began sniffing his shoes and pant legs and robes.
Astrid’s voice sounded far away, “It’s all right, Hagrid, they’re just getting your scent so they’ll know you next time.”
Finally finding his voice, the huge man asked, “Aren’t these beasties considered… Dangerous, summat?”
Xander chuckled, “Hagrid, I thought you’d appreciate a magical Pack of Hyenas.”
Bushy eyebrows disappear into the equally bushy hairline.
Taking pity on the man, Xander explains, “Well you see, it’s like this. Right after your last visit, Laibah went with me on the weekly supply run and on our way back we ran across a family of hyenas that had been killed by poachers or somebody. She heard the one surviving kit, jumped out of the jeep and into the brush before I could say squat and was back with a struggling baby hyena in her arms, yowling up a storm. Long story short, it was a bit of a magical hyena and I’d had a run in with their kind before. Remember me telling you about the hyena possession back in high school?”
Hagrid nods, horrified and eyes the creatures around them even more fearfully.
Xander waves his arms in a negating gesture, “It’s nothing like that this time! Turns out, these guys here,” he reaches out and pats the huge female on the head affectionately, can choose to ‘share’ their spirit with those they deem worthy and me and mine haven’t been found wanting. The fact my Laibah rescued and took to mothering the orphaned kit was the first mark in our favor. The little one appealed to their god-.”
“Their wha?” Hagrid was startled by this revelation.
Grinning and waving at Astrid as he leads the half giant away, “Yeah, this type at least, have a god- or goddess, really, that they serve. So she appealed to her and the goddess came to me in a dream to discover why I smelled ‘off’ as she put it. I explained everything that had happened during that time in school and she told me she remembered me. THAT scared me for a second, but then she explained that the ritual used was an abomination of the gift.”
“It is?” Hagrid asked. He didn’t even seem to notice they were heading toward the back of the Compound.
“Yeah, big guy. Apparently when taken by force, the spirit corrupts even as it grants the physical upgrades, but it wasn’t meant to be that way in the beginning. So she offered for me to get the full package with all the benefits this time around and since I’m out there fighting with my girls and want to be around into old age for my kids, I took the deal. This Pack showed up outside the Compound in short order and I’ve bonded with this beautiful lady here.” He leans over and gives a rough caress to the largest hyena’s side while she chuffs with amusement at the look on Hagrid’s face.
“What about Jesse and Jimmy?” the big guy asked, finally looking around as if to spot the children.
“Oh the boys will be allowed to choose for themselves when they’re ‘of age’ as the goddess put it. I think they’ll at least be in their teens when that happens, but in the meantime, they’re my pack and will be protected as such. Two of this Pack are with the boys and Laibah, along with the kit who is still too young to wander around, at all times. Even my slayers are considered Pack. Made for some interesting times around here for a while, until everyone got used to the idea,” he laughed at a secret thought, but didn’t share it.
Obviously not wanting to, but forcing himself anyway, Hagrid asks a question. “Xander, ’ave you told Dumbledore about this?” He holds up a hand at the glint of anger in his friend’s eye, “I mean, to git yer side o’ things told, an’ all. So wrong conclusions aren’t jumped to an’ what ‘ave you. I’d ‘ate to see a misunnerstandin’ ‘appen is all.”
Taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly, Xander replies, “You’ve got a point. I guess I’ll have to do some kind of documentation or something.” He snaps his fingers, “I know, we’ll do a mini-documentary, with reenactments and everything. The girls will love that and I wouldn’t be surprised if the boys did too.”
Rounding the last building, the two came into sight of the children playing a game in the dirt that included the young hyena kit.
Three very fast children sped to the two men and were greeted by being swooped up into the air and hugged by both, the baby hyena whooping along with the giggles and shrieks.
A month later, the Minister of Magic, Dumbledore, Minerva MacGonagall and the Heads of several of the Ministry’s departments were all invited to view the finished documentary.
The representative of the Harris family in charge of showing the film refused to answer any questions until the film was done and ignored all of the gasps, hisses and outraged whispers until the final scenes. Those were of the reenactment of the bonding itself which took place just outside the Compound with all of the Harris family present along with several slayers and a couple of Watchers.
Just as it finished, Harris’ eyes flashing green and everything, a black robed, masked figure apparated into view and screamed, “Death to the Potter brat! Avada Kedavra!” The streak of green energy went wild as his wand arm was plowed into by nearly a hundred pounds of furry missile with teeth that latched onto that appendage with several audible cracks as the bones were snapped. At the exact same time there was a flash of silver and a knife was buried to the hilt in the man’s neck, thrown by Harris himself. Faster than anyone could blink, the rest of the pack was on the man and he didn’t even have time to scream as he was literally ripped apart.
Xander walked up to the camera with both his young sons now in his arms, slayers and Watchers in a line behind, blocking the children’s view of the body. Harris’ daughter was on the shoulders of the shortest slayer. “And that, Ministry people, is a perfect example of the sort of protection my family is now under.” He shook his head, “We didn’t plan that last bit, don’t know who that guy was either, but he won’t be coming after my son again. I didn’t think it was possible for anything to react faster than a slayer… Looks like I was wrong.” He smiled at the camera, showing lots of teeth before he shifted one boy a little so that he could reach up and shut it off.
The screen went black.
The Harris family representative cleared his throat, “Gentlemen, Lady,” his nod is for Minerva. “Are there any questions at this time?”
The silence was deafening. Then someone retched and hurried from the room. Every other face was pale, mouths drawn into thin lines. More than one had a green tinge to them, but no one else succumbed to their nausea.
“No? Well then, I’ll just be on my way. If you have any questions later, you have my card. Good day to you all.” Closing his laptop, he got up and went to the door.
As Giles left the room, he let a rather predatory smirk of his own flit across his face. He couldn’t wait to tell Xander how they’d reacted, that Dumbledore himself had tossed his cookies.