7. Oh, Did I Offend You?
A/N: Ok, bonding scenes around for all. Um, yeah. Those just popped up outta nowhere. UST is coming up, next followed by some aggressive behavior, and maybe even time for shipping off the kiddies. And maybe a little faith.Chapter Nine: Oh, Did I Offend You?
Tonks groaned inwardly when she saw him. Didn’t he have a life? Or at least someone else to bother? It’d be such a wonderful change if he weren’t hanging about doing nothing.
Marcus Flint sat next to the only available seat in the crowded kitchen table. Faith caught her eye and gestured to the counter. Tonks felt like thanking her, but held off. Faith slid into the seat between Flint and Percy.
“Well, if it isn’t Mr. Stiff-Upper-Lip.” she grinned maliciously, and caught Cordy’s eye as she and Xander snuck into the kitchen. “Yo, queen C, who he remind you of?”
“What now?” she asked, trying to focus on the man Faith was pointing at.
“Miss - Faith, would you please get your hand out of my face?” Percy said darkly through nearly clenched teeth.
“Oh my god - look Xander, it’s what Willow and Wesley’s love child would have been like!” Cordy cried, then paused a beat. “Well, the not gay Willow and senior year Wesley.”
“Not needing the mental image, Cordy.” Xander shuddered. “Nyah! Now that’s an image I’ll be stuck with for months.”
“Oh, grow up Harris. I’ve seen Wes shirt-less before, he’s not that bad looking. Willow - well, you found her hot enough to give up all this.” Cordy said, doing her best Vanna White impersonation and showing off her goods.
“Can you to not be talking right now?” Tonks snapped, interrupting them. “It’s putting me off my breakfast.” she pointed to the precariously balanced plate on her knees with a forkful of scrambled eggs.
“That and it’s making Perce a lovely shade of red.” Flint said around a mouthful of eggs, showing that it wasn’t bothering him in the least.
“What in Merlin’s name are you lot going on about?” Molly Weasley demanded, bustling back into the kitchen. “Have you two gotten yourselves something to eat? No? Here, then, let me fix you a plate. Tonks, why ever are sitting up there - with one of the good plates - don’t we have any more chairs?”
Tonks jumped slightly at Molly’s admonishing voice, and felt the plate wiggle on her lap. She made a mad snatch at it, but it slipped right off her lap. She waited for the pitying look and the admonitions to start, and the shattering of the plate to bounce off the walls. Instead all she received was a cough and a nudge. She pried her eye open nervously and saw Faith holding her plate out to her.
“You gonna take this?” Faith said quietly, while Molly’s back was still turned.
“Thanks.” Tonks mouthed, taking the plate in both hands. Faith just shrugged.
“Ugh, Molly do you know how many carbs are in this?” Cordy said wrinkling her noise, but still taking the plate Molly offered.
“Oh, get over it Chase. Since when do carbs stick to you?” Xander said around a hastily shoved in mouthful of food.
“Whoa, Xan-man, way to make with the nice.” Faith said grinning, watching as Cordy gave him a tiny smile.
“Hey, where’s my boy?” Cordelia said, clearing her throat and avoiding Faith’s comment.
“Harry and the others are still sleeping.” Molly said distractedly, glancing up at the clock on the wall. “Merlin, is that
the time? Percy, go up and fetch Harry and the others.” When Percy hesitated, Molly narrowed her eyes. “Did I stutter? Go on, they have to go to Diagon Alley for their books. Marcus, you and this lot are going as well. Where is Remus? He said he‘d be there as well. Hmph.”
“Eat quickly.” Percy said to Marcus as he jumped up to go fetch the younger teens.
“What?” Marcus spluttered, his eyes quickly moving away from Tonks’ legs, but Percy was already out of the kitchen.
“Marcus Flint, are you quite finished?”
“You’ve been here for twenty minutes, your plate is empty. Are you finished?” Molly said slowly, as if she thought the boy didn’t quite understand what she was saying.
“Yes, Mrs. Weasley.” Marcus jumped up.
“Good, then go help Percy round up the twins and see if Severus has decided to stick around this morning or if he’s already back at Hogwarts.”
“Morning Mum.” Charlie Weasley said between yawning. Tonks grinned at him.
“Morning, Tonks.” he grinned right back at her.
Marcus felt his fists clench at his sides as he stood in the doorway watching Tonks grin like a loon at Charlie. Cordelia prodded Xander. The dark haired man gave her a dirty look before he caught sight of Marcus. He gulped down the mouthful of food.
“Hey, were we introduced?” Xander asked, taking the seat nearest to Tonks and directly cutting off Charlie’s path towards her. “I’m Alexander LaVelle Harris, Black heir, one-eyed not-so-much-a-pirate kinda guy. And you?”
“Charlie Weasley. Second born. Dragon tamer.”
tamer? Those things are real
? No shit.” Faith grinned.
“All these years as a slayer and you’ve never seen a dragon?” Tonks asked, not sure what was going on.
“I have.” Xander said nonchalantly.
“When did you see a dragon?”
“When Buffy died closing the portal the hell god Glory opened about three years ago. There was a dragon - I wonder what happened to it. It just sort of vanished.”
“On the Hellmouth? And nobody noticed a fricken dragon?” Cordy said flatly.
“On the Hellmouth?” Charlie asked, interrupting her. “In the Western states?”
“Yeah.” Xander said slowly.
“I know what happened to your dragon. A mate of mine from the reserve had to go fetch one quietly out of a wildlife reserve about twenty miles south of the Hellmouth.” Charlie said. “Bloke had a long ponytail back then, went up in a blaze of glory, or so he says.”
“That makes my hair hurt.” Cordy said.
“Marcus, what are you doing still hanging about the doorframe?” Molly asked, handing Charlie a plate.
“Must be too thick to remember what you said.” Charlie muttered under his breath.
Xander, Cordy, and Faith all exchanged looks. Marcus had heard what he’d said, and looked as if nothing in the world would give him more joy than to jump over the table and strangle Charlie Weasley to death. Luckily, Marcus wasn’t as stupid as everyone thought he was. He merely walked out the door. Molly smacked Charlie’s arm.
“Ow, mum, whatcha do that for?”
“Honestly, Charles Weasley, I raised you better than that!”
“Mum, he repeated his seventh year! He acted more like a mountain troll than any sane
wizard or in
sane wizard I’ve ever met, and he annoys Tonks.”
“Thanks, Charlie.” Tonks said.
“No problem. I know what hell he put you through on the Quidditch pitch back in school and Harry and Ron have been telling me how annoying he’s been now that he’s a member of the Order.”
“Wait, you two have a history?” Cordelia demanded.
“Yeah, I told you that everyone in this house, with the exception of you three, went to Hogwarts. Charlie was a year older than me and my Quidditch Captain, not to mention one of my best friends. Minding of course that Kingsley has gained more friend points than you over the years.”
“Real nice, Nymphie.” Charlie huffed playfully.
“Morning, Aunt Cordy.” Harry said, making a not-so-grand entrance. “Morning Faith, and er, Mr. Harris. Right?”
“This is Harry - and wow, did you really just call him Mr. Harris
?” Cordy asked.
“Well, I didn’t want to call him Xander, I don’t really know him.”
“Call him Xander. It’s his name.” Harry hesitated a second, looking over at Xander.
“Yeah, go ahead. You can call me Xander.” he nodded, smiling.
“See, he’s okay with it.”
“Yeah, it’s not like I’m gonna run around calling people Mr. or Mrs. if I know their names. Plus it’d get crazy if I called everyone Mr. Weasley. And it’s not like I’m gonna run around bowing and scraping saying Mr. Potter to you. You’re Dawnie’s age.”
“He’s one damn polite kid, C.” Faith chortled.
“Who’s Dawnie?” Harry asked at the same time.
“Real nice girl. Even if her older sister is Buffy.” Cordelia answered.
“Hey, that’s one of my
best friends you’re talking about there. You don’t hear me making with the jibs on fang-boy.” Xander said defensively. Turning to Harry he started talking. “Dawn’ll be sixteen in a few weeks, early September-ish. She’s in Rome, doing the whole study-abroad thing, now that Sunnyhell’s dead and buried.”
“Harris, don’t even think
about match-making.” Cordy warned, her eyes narrowed.
“Who, me?” he said innocently.
“Mini B’s got an inch on him, and she likes pumps.” Faith pointed out to Xander.
“Yeah, I was thinking about that.” Xander’s eyes fell on Ron, who was standing just behind Harry taking a plate from his mother. “Hey, tall, red and Weasley. You seeing anybody?”
“Me?” Ron blushed, and the brown haired girl went suddenly very tight mouthed.
“Er . . . never mind.”
“So, we’re going to this Diagon Alley place today?” Cordelia said, changing the subject. “What’ve you got to get there, cuz let me tell you that Ollivander guy is so gonna hate us if we walk back through the door.”
“No, we don’t have to go there.” The red-haired girl smiled at Cordelia.
“The boys will probably need new robes, and they’ll all need books.” Molly said, wiping her hands on her apron. “New work materials.”
“Can’t exactly buy our books without our O.W.L.’s, can we?” Ron muttered.
“Why can’t you buy your books without owls?” Cordy asked.
“Owls? Where?” Xander asked, looking around nervously.
“Why are you acting like a big chicken about owls?”
“Why are we talking about birds?” Ron whispered to Harry.
“Ordinary Wizarding Level. O-W-L.” Hermione explained.
“Huh?” Xander and Cordy said at the same time.
“They’re tests you have to take in your fifth year of training. To see how much you’ve learned and actually understand.”
“What are those?”
“They’re the test we had to take to get into college, same deal as your O.W.L.‘s. They get you into college too, right?” Cordy asked.
“No, they just tell us what advanced classes we can take that will specialize in chosen fields. Like Harry needs Outstanding and Exceeds Expectations in order to become an Auror like Tonks.” Hermione said, taking a plate from Molly.
“Hurry up, children. Oh, these came in the morning mail.” Molly said, handing each of the older three teens thick envelopes.
Cordelia, Faith, and Xander watched as all three stopped eating and nervously opened them. Hermione looked as if she were going to throw up, Ron was pale, and Harry seemed to stop breathing. Molly hovered over their shoulders, smiling brightly.
“All Outstanding!” she said to Hermione, hugging the girl affectionately.
“Seven O.W.L.s apiece!” Molly beamed at Harry and Ron.
“You and the kid must get your smarts from the same place.” Xander grinned at Cordy.
“Why do you say that?” Harry asked curiously.
“Because I kicked major ass on the S.A.T.’s when I was your age.”
“Only really did bad in Divination and History of Magic.” Ron said, “But who really needs to learn Divination? Useless talent if you ask me.”
“Divination? Like having visions?” Cordy asked stiffly.
“Yeah, pure rubbish if you ask me.”
“Uh-oh.” Faith pushed back from the table, and Xander visibly winced.
“You do know that I’m