Xander looked around the large occult store with a sense of boredom. He was located in the center of the room, in a small area with sofas and chairs, so he could spot each member of his party easily. Harry and Ron were playing with a Quiji board display. Hermione had her nose buried in an enormous book on Norse Mythology. Ginny was browsing the small demonology section, a fact that had Xander a little worried. Draco was in the Dark Magic section, though little sighs of agitation kept coming from him as he replaced book after book to the shelf. Neville was in the herbology section, where a small table sat. The boy had about five books opened, bouncing between each with interest. Every once in a while, he would look up at Draco with a little smile on his face.
"Are you sure we can't just buy her a gift card for a magic shop?" A voice asked as a jingle indicated someone had just entered the shop. Xander paused at the sound of the voice.
"You know Willow, she thinks it's better if it's personal." Another voice replied. Xander slowly turned around.
"Buffy? Dawn?" He asked. There was a loud squeal that caused all of his charges to look over. Xander let out a loud 'oof' as Dawn practically tackled him into the nearest sofa. Buffy stood in front of them, arms crossed with a small smile tugging at her lips. Xander pushed Dawn away, laughing and re-adjusting his eye patch. "What are you guys doing here?"
"We just got back from Rome." Buffy told him. "We decided to stop by here for emergency Christmas shopping before we went on to Blackpool."
"Why are you here?" Dawn asked, bouncing in her seat. Xander took a moment to notice she had already grown a couple more inches since the last time he had seen her. "I thought you were in some magic school with the latest in Slayer training."
"Yeah, how's that going for you, by the way? Giles said you told him she was good, but then he got all British on me. Never know what the man is saying when he starts polishing his glasses." Buffy grinned.
"I'm good?" Ginny piped up, walking over to them. She slapped Xander on the shoulder. "How come you never told me I was good?"
"Because you hit me." Xander pouted, rubbing at his shoulder. Soon, teenagers were surrounding them as the others came over. "Guys, this is Buffy and Dawn. Scoobies, this is Ginny, Hermione, Ron, Harry, Neville, and Draco."
"Geeze, when I started a trend of Slayers having friends, I really started a trend." Buffy commented.
"You're the Slayer!" Ginny gasped. "I had a feeling, but I wasn't certain. Wow, the Slayer."
"Yeah, you too." Buffy grinned.
"Great, more muggles." Draco snorted.
"Problem?" Buffy asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Not at all. Now, if you'll excuse me." Draco turned to Neville. "Come on, let's get out of here."
"Yeah, just a minute." Neville mumbled, struggling to pick up all his books. He made to put them back on the shelves, but Draco intercepted him.
"Oh, for Salazar's sake." Draco rolled his eyes. "Give those to me." He snatched the books from Neville, stacking them neatly, before carrying them over to the counter.
"Draco, you really don't have to-"
"Honestly, Longbottom, you act as though I never do anything nice for you." Draco interrupted. He handed the now purchased bag of books to the flustering Gryffindor. "Now, I expect a very nice Christmas gift for this."
"Are they a couple?" Dawn asked as the duo waited by the door for them. "They look coupley."
"Much to my displeasure, yes." Ginny scowled.
"Is the world going gay?" Buffy suddenly asked. Dawn, who had finally stood up, adverted her eyes.
"Excuse me?" Xander asked.
"Oh, nothing. It's just every time I turn around people are getting with the same sex loving." Buffy said. "I'm starting to feel left out. Not that I like girls, I'm just saying is all... And I'm going to shut up now."
"Thank you." Dawn whispered. Xander raised an eyebrow in her direction. She merely rolled her eyes in typical Dawn fashion.
"Hey, I know." Xander said, standing. "Buffy can come patrolling with us tonight, Ginny."
"I knew you were going to make me patrol." Ginny shook her head as though disappointed in him, then turned to Buffy with a smile. "But I'd like that."
"You need to watch your right side a bit more." Buffy said before staking a rather nasty vampire. Ginny let out a grunt of agreement, before grabbing her own vampire and pulling him into a roll. Buffy stood back to watch as Ginny came out of the roll and swiftly turned into a round house kick. "Don't let him get too close."
"Not-" Ginny grunted. "-Planning on it."
A fist hit Ginny square in the jaw, but the redhead quickly recovered. After a few more punches and a kick, a stake was thrusted cleanly into the vampire's chest. As dust caught into the wind, Ginny bounced over to Buffy.
"You did good." Buffy told her. "Better than some beginners do. Better than I did, actually."
"Yeah." Buffy shared a smile with her. "You react well under attack."
"Oh, well, I've been in fights long before I became a Slayer." Ginny told her. "What with my brother's best friend being the enemy to a sadistic madman. You learn to protect yourself during a war."
"It's sad, but rather true." Buffy agreed, before pausing. "I suppose I should give you some advice. Pretty much: Don't die. That's a big rule and dying isn't much fun anyway. Also, don't let some stupid prophecy make you think you'll lose. Most of those Slayer prophecies were written a long time ago, before Slayer's had friends to help them fight."
"I'll keep that in mind." Ginny replied.
"So?" Xander asked as they approached. He dug merrily into his bag of potatoes chips, then continued with a full mouth. "How'd she do?"
"Grade A." Buffy replied.
"We should get back to the hotel." Ginny advised, pocketing her stake. "Ron and Malfoy are probably trying to kill each other."
"I'm going to kill you!" Ron screeched, before tackling Draco to the ground. Ginny, Buffy, and Xander watched with avid interest as the duo rolled across the floor. Punches were thrown and growls sent into the air. Finally, Neville heaved a great sigh and yanked Draco off of Ron.
"Stop." Neville said, giving Draco a look.
"Fine. I have better things to do with my time, anyway." Draco sniffed delicately.
"God, I hate him." Ron mumbled as Harry helped him to his feet and Draco and Neville disappeared behind their door.
"Ah, teen angst. Remember the days?" Xander asked Buffy.
"Yeah. It's not nearly as bloody as I remember it, though." Buffy commented, before joining Dawn and Hermione on the love seat in the sitting room connecting Draco and Ginny's room. Ginny bounced over and sat at their feet.
"Yeah, but didn't you date a vampire?" Ginny asked.
"Huh, she's got a point." Buffy said with a shrug.
"You dated a vampire?" Hermione asked. "Like Spike?"
"Spike?" Buffy asked, shooting a look at Xander. "What do you know about Spike?"
"Dead!" Xander yelped.
"No, he's not. Well, he is, but-" Hermione suddenly cringed. "Oh... You're not suppose to know that."
"But..." Buffy trailed off, her eyes focusing on Xander's nervous form. "He's alive? How? Why didn't you tell me?"
"He didn't want you to know." Xander admitted. Buffy easily hid the hurt look that tried to cross her face. "I should have told you, but... Honestly, do you really need to know? You're happy without him around."
"I'm-" Buffy stopped and sighed. "Yeah, I am. He complicated things. Just... Let me know how he's doing sometime, okay?"
"Will do, Buffster." Xander smiled.
"Did you really have sex with him?" Ginny asked bluntly. Hermione's face turned bright red, while Dawn coughed into her hand. "Spike never would say, but you could tell.... Was he good?"
"Okay! Time for those of us with the Y chromosome to vacate the area." Xander said, gesturing for Harry and Ron to follow him out the door.
"What's a chromosome?" Ron asked once they had reached the safety of the hallway.
"Uh... Ask Hermione." Xander replied.
"Yeah, right." Ron snorted.
They returned home late the next day, after spending a nice evening eating out and shopping with Buffy and Dawn. Xander was a little worried at first, his Sunnydale friends meeting his Hogwarts companions, but everyone got along. Even Draco seemed to like Buffy, which was rather surprising. Ginny and Dawn got along a little too much for Xander's taste, each of them using their wit to send every man in the vicinity into a dark blush. Excluding Draco, however. It seemed nothing made that boy flustered.
Well, except Neville, who appeared to not have a clue about his effect on the Slytherin.
A semi-tearful goodbye later, with promises to write and small teases about someone with amber eyes (leading Xander to the conclusion he needed to talk to Ginny about keeping her mouth closed), they returned to the Black house. Andrew was the first to spot them as he stirred something in a large bowl, oven mitts attached to his hands.
"Oh my gosh, you're back!" He exclaimed. "So? How was it? Do anything... Naughty?"
"They better haven't." Molly said sternly, eyeing each teenager, then giving Xander a stern look just on principle.
"They were good, except a bit of fighting on Ron and Draco's part." Xander replied. Ron let out a squeak.
"Ronald Weasley." Molly stated, her hands on her hips.
"But it wasn't bad." Xander continued. "We met Buffy and Dawn there."
"Wow, really?" Andrew asked. "How are they?"
"Good. They're going to Blackpool for Christmas. Buffy's still living the single life and Dawn's gotten taller." Xander told him.
"Taller? Impossible." Andrew whined. "She wasn't suppose to get taller than me."
"Well, you take that one up with her." Xander grinned. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a werewolf to hunt."
"Why am I not shocked?" Xander asked as he stepped into the library. Remus looked up from his book in surprise, before smiling. Xander went over and sat in the chair next to him with a sigh. "I leave you alone for two days and you've buried yourself into literature. I am ashamed, man, simply ashamed."
"I'm sorry to disappoint." Remus said, his voice filled with amusement.
"Yes, well, don't do it again." Xander said sternly. After a moment of silence, Xander began picking at the arm of his chair. "Umm... Well, I missed you."
"You-? Oh..." Xander looked up to see Remus smiling behind his book.
"Well, what?" Remus asked.
"Did you miss me?"
"Maybe." Was Remus calm reply, though his smile turned into a grin.
"Good... So... I was wondering if you wanted to, uh... Well..." Xander sputtered to a stop. What was he really asking here, anyway? A part of him didn't have a clue. The other part of him kept whispering about that almost-kiss near the Shrieking Shack. Xander frowned down at that part of him, but his crotch had nothing else to say on the matter.
"Yes?" Remus asked, finally closing his book and looking at Xander.
"Well, I..." Xander trailed off. Standing, he crossed and un-crossed his arms. Opening his mouth, he tried very hard to stop the words that emerged, but proved to be unsuccessful. "I was wondering.. Remember the Hogsmeade visit? Well, I've been trying to get alone with you for a while now and here we are... Alone! So... Can I kiss you?"
"I see." Remus replied, taking a deep breath. He looked up at Xander, his gold eyes looking rather large in the lighting. "I've been thinking about that, actually, and... Xander, I'm sorry, but I really think I'm too old for you."
"What?" Xander's jaw dropped. Remus slowly stood, clutching his book in his hands. "You are not!"
"Xander, honestly, I believe this is for the best." Remus said, before quickly turning on his heel and walking out of the library. Xander stared after him, feeling rather lost. Then, slowly, a look of determination spread across it.
"So, let me get this straight, he claimed that he was too old?" Andrew asked.
"That's mad, that is." Spike commented. "Bloody hell, I'm over a hundred years Oz's senior and we fit well together."
"The man has a point. In more ways than one." Oz said.
"Too much information." Xander told him, before letting out a sigh. He dug into the large bag at their feet and tossed a dead rat towards Buckbeak. Spike watched with interest as the animal tore it to pieces before swallowing. "Maybe he doesn't like me?"
"I'm sure he does." Andrew insisted. "Severus acts like he hates me, but you get me into a bedroom with him alone and, well, it's a little scary."
"Or in a hallway." Oz half-smiled.
"Oh... Well, yeah." Andrew blushed. "Just you wait, though. When I get back to Hogwarts, he'll be following me around like a puppy begging for it."
"We believe you." Xander said.
"You know what?" Spike asked, turning back to the conversation. "The man is bloody insane, is what he is."
"No, Remus." Spike snapped. "He's obviously attracted to you. The pheromones start erupting into the air just at the mention of your name. It's really annoying."
"Gives you a reason to drag Oz off, though." Andrew pointed out.
"True." Spike relented.
"You just need to not give up, Xander." Andrew told him. "He likes you. I can't smell arousal, but even I can tell. Be persistent."
"Like you did with Severus?" Xander asked, innocently.
"It got him to notice me, didn't it?" Andrew said.
"Did at that." Spike snorted. "You have that man so wound up, I'm waiting for the killing sprees to begin."
"He is rather uptight." Oz commented.
"Yeah." Andrew sighed dreamily. The others rolled their eyes.
"What are you four doing in here?" Ginny asked, opening the door to the master bedroom. "Should I worry?"
"We're plotting a way to get you a girlfriend." Xander told her, tossing one last rat at Buckbeak.
"Oh, don't worry about that, Watcher of mine." Ginny grinned. "I've already spotted someone new."
"Who? You've been locked up in this place for a week." Andrew said.
"Dawn." Ginny said.
"You and the niblet?" Spike asked, having already heard the story about Buffy and Dawn meeting their group. He wasn't too happy about Buffy finding out about his being undead and in the area, but quickly got over it. Spike turned to Xander. "That's a scary thought, mate."
"I know, those two together?" Xander shuddered. "They are a danger to society."
"Hey!" Ginny protested.
It wasn't the first time Xander had found himself overhearing a conversation between Remus and some random person. And as the last time, it seemed to happen inside the Black family library. However, while the last time it had included Albus Dumbledore, this one was with Molly Weasley.
"Remus, I really don't mean to pry." Molly insisted.
"I'm sorry, Molly, but it's none of your business." Remus told her, his voice indicating they were finished.
"Listen to me," Molly stated. Xander could recognize the order in her voice. He found himself involuntarily straightening up and paying attention to her next words. "That man adores you and if you haven't figured that out, Remus Lupin, then it's your loss."
"No. I don't want to hear your excuses." Molly interrupted. "You care about him, I can see it in your eyes. ...I know you miss Sirius, but you can't let his death stop you from caring about someone else."
"He's more than ten years my junior, Molly." Remus whispered.
"So?" Molly sighed. "He's not young enough to be your son, Remus. He's old enough to know what and who he wants. He's been through so much at his age, making him far more mature than some. He's fought vampires, a goddess, and even a witch infused with pure dark magic. Do you really believe a child could handle all of that?"
"That's not the point." Remus said.
"Then what is?" Molly asked. "What's the point in making him feel like you don't care?"
"I care. You know I do!" Remus exclaimed. "I can't not care, Molly. Just... Can't you leave it be?"
"No, I can't." Molly replied. "Andrew asked me to speak with you, so that's what I'm doing. And he's right to be concerned. You can't keep holding people at arm's distance, Remus. You deserve love, and Xander deserves to be allowed to love you."
"Can't we talk about this later?" Remus practically begged.
"I give up!" Molly let out an exasperated sigh. "Remus, just... Please, don't make him miserable? It's Christmas tomorrow, and I expect to see smiling faces. Do you understand me?"
"Yes ma'am." Remus replied, though his voice held no amusement despite his words.
"I want you to be happy." Molly stated, before walking towards the door. Xander quickly hid in the shadows, watching as Molly walked past with a troubled look on her face.
Xander couldn't help but feel nervous the next morning. He had, after all, been raised on a Hellmouth. It was the holidays, a time when people would attempt to be jubilant. Things were bound to go badly. Yet, nothing did go as terrible as he assumed it would. Everyone woke up around seven, except Molly, Arthur, and Remus, who had been up since five. All the teenagers, and Andrew, gathered their presents and placed them in the sitting room in front of the large fireplace. Xander and Oz followed at a slower pace, while Spike had yet to go to bed.
The vampire pulled Oz onto his lap and rested his head against the werewolf's shoulder, eyes half-closed. Xander fell down onto the sofa next to Remus, ignoring the fact that Remus scooted away from him. Soon, everyone was huddled together and opening gifts. Xander barely noticed what the other received, except that Andrew had given Ginny one of the books they had previously kept her from reading. Ginny's bright red face grinned lecherously, despite her embarrassment. From Xander, she had received a set of stakes, each carved to fit her grip perfectly.
Andrew got a bunch of small items, along with something from Remus that caused him to grin stupidly and hide in the corner staring at it. Spike received a weapon or two. Oz got a couple of books, since no one knew what the young man liked besides Spike. Remus was, of course, given books. Xander received, along with pretty much everyone in the room, a Weasley jumper in pale blue and a sword from Spike, Oz, and Andrew. From Ginny, he was handed a small vial with dust inside.
"What's this?" He asked, shaking it slightly.
"It's the first vampire I dusted. I found some of it on my jacket after patrol, so... I figured you could keep it." Ginny shrugged.
"Thanks." Xander grinned. Ginny rolled her eyes and went back to inspecting her stakes. Xander looked at the vial for a moment, before his eyes finally dragged over to Remus. The werewolf was already reading through one of his books, almost ignoring Xander's presence next to him. Letting out a frustrated sigh, Xander quickly gathered his things and left.
"Xander!" Xander paused on the hallway. He was so close to the staircase and therefore the kitchens. So close to sitting alone with the cakes Molly had in the cabinet.
"What?" Xander asked, turning slightly.
"Here." Remus said simply, handing over a small box wrapped in gold paper. Xander stared at it as though it were a dangerous animal. "Please, take it?"
"I thought you didn't want me near you." Xander said softly, reaching out and taking the box, being careful not to touch Remus' slender fingers.
"I didn't mean it like that, Xander." Remus replied. Xander's hold on the box tightened slightly. "I... Probably should get back... I wanted you to have that, though."
"Sure. Whatever." Xander nodded, then let out a brief, frustrated growl. "Remus, wait."
"It's on my bed." Xander told him. "Your present, I mean. If you want it, that is."
"Thank you." Remus said softly, before turning away.
Xander didn't bother to watch him leave. He quickly made his way to the kitchens and found anything containing chocolate. Once he had enough of the precious food in his mouth, he turned to the package sitting on the table. Finally giving into temptation, he ripped the gold wrapping off to reveal a palm sized black box. Taking a deep, steady breath, he opened it. Inside, nestled in what looked to be a bed of velvet, was a gold chain with a tiny pendant attached. While small and delicate, the necklace looked thoroughly masculine. The pendant was a penny-sized ball, colored like the moon.
Lifting it up, Xander held it close to his face. As he shifted it around in he light, he was amazed to the moon's shadows alter. After a full twist, the shadows formed the shape of a wolf, which leapt into the air. Upon it's landed, it tilted it's head up and howled. Listening carefully, the small echo of a wolf's cry reached his ears.
"Wow." Xander whispered, sitting back in his chair. He paused a moment, before slipped the necklace around his neck and hiding it under his shirt. Shaking his head, he muttered to himself. "If he doesn't like me, then what kind of game is he playing?"
"Why is Remus avoiding you again?" Andrew asked two days later. Xander frowned at him, his hand immediately going to touch the pendant through his shirt.
"Why are you perving over Remus' present?" Xander countered.
"Oh, Xander." Andrew sighed his dreamy sigh. He clutched the gift, a small piece of paper from the looks of it, against his chest. "Remus has given me the gift of wizard eternity."
"Really?" Xander raised an eyebrow. "Let me see."
"Umm, no." Andrew shook his head.
"Come on!" Xander insisted, reaching for the item. Andrew dodged away, but Xander was prepared for the move. After a moment of fighting, Xander stood up, victorious. With a smirk, he looked down at the paper. It turned out to be a photo. One of those wizard photos Xander had slowly adapted to. Severus Snape, though much younger than he is now, looked up at him with a scowl. "Great Zeus, where did Remus get this?"
"Well, he went to school with Severus, you know. He had it duplicated from his yearbook from seventh year." Andrew replied. He gently retrieved the picture and smiled down at it. "Was he the cutest thing?"
"Well..." Xander tilted his head as he looked. While Severus hadn't been the most attractive person, much like now, he did have this sense of sarcasm and rebellion about him that made a person want to watch the photograph. "I suppose... In that... 'I'm better than everyone else' kind of way."
"Yes, well, at least my man will look at me." Andrew stated.
"Andrew, that's a picture." Xander told him. Andrew proceeded to ignore him, in favor of staring at Severus Snape's face, who was content in glaring at Andrew in return. "Yeah, okay. Just... Don't start sleeping with it, all right?"
"I have no idea as to what you mean." Andrew stated, before walking away.
"I really worry about the day we get back to Hogwarts." Ginny commented as Andrew passed her while vacating the room. "Snape is going to have quite the madman on his hands."
"Forget Batman, imagine what we'll have to go through when he decides he doesn't want to be with Andrew anymore... Again." Xander replied.
"So, what's this I hear about Remus avoiding you?" Ginny asked.
"Why can't people just let that go?" Xander threw his hands up into the air. "It's not going to happen, you know. Remus doesn't want me, so there is nothing for it."
"And yet he's going out of his way to make sure he doesn't see you." Ginny told him, raising a red eyebrow.
"Well, I am devastatingly handsome. He can't help but want me when faced with my glorious presence." Xander said sarcastically.
"Stop." Ginny ordered. "Just, stop it. He likes you. You like him. You play with his Christmas gift to you all the time. He keeps hiding himself in his room with yours. Don't you think the fates are trying to say something?"
"He liked it?" Xander asked, momentarily perking up.
"It was a book. Of course he did." Ginny rolled her eyes, before smiling. "But it was better than most books. He's already spent hours telling me and Hermione about how rare it is."
"Well, it's a Watcher's Council lost secret." Xander admitted.
"You stole it."
"No, I didn't!" Xander frowned. "Well... I didn't... Giles did, though. That book is one of the few books left from the original Watcher's Council."
"Fascinating as that may be, why don't you go tell him that." Ginny offered.
"No, I couldn't."
"Argh! You two are so frustrating!" Ginny growled, before stomping off.
"Oi! Toss me a steak!" Spike called down the long table.
"Spike!" Molly reprimanded. Spike frowned and looked down at his empty plate. It was their last night at the Black home, thus being their last huge meal. Molly watched Spike a moment, before sighing. Carefully, she dropped a steak onto his plate that was practically still dripping with blood. "Here, I made this especially for you."
"Thanks." Spike leered. Molly looked away, a slight blush forming on her cheeks.
"So, Xander, what do you have planned for my Ginny this term?" Arthur asked.
"Well, I was thinking of weekend patrols in the Forbidden Forrest." Xander said thoughtfully. "Perhaps the Hogsmeade area on occasion. Oh, and patrolling the night of the Spring Dance of course."
"What?" Ginny screeched.
"Wait, what dance?" Ron asked.
"Oh, cripes." Xander turned to Remus, who was sitting as far away as possible. "Albus hasn't announced it yet, has he?"
"No, I believe he was waiting for after the Christmas Holidays." Remus replied.
"It's because of me, you know." Ginny said smugly. "My powers of persuasion made Xander talk to the Headmaster."
"I highly doubt that." Ron scoffed. "Dumbledore was probably planning it all along."
"He's got a point, Slayer." Spike pointed out through a mouth filled with food. "That wizard is one sneaky bast- ...man."
"Whatever." Was Ginny's reply.
"Well, I suppose we'll need to get dress robes." Molly said slowly. Ron groaned loudly and the sound of his head hitting the table echoed through the room.
"Don't worry about that, Molly." Xander grinned. "We'll make it a... casual dress kind of thing."
Returning to Hogwarts after Christmas break was a lot like returning home after a stressful family vacation. It was nice to have an excuse not to see Ginny and the Trio everyday. Not that Xander didn't like them, but the Trio were... An odd group of people, that was for certain.
Things seemed to slowly morph back into their old schedule. Remus taught. Xander watch as Ginny destroyed his table for the twentieth time that school year. Andrew followed Severus around. Severus ignored him. Spike and Oz made out in corners, while students passed. They ignored Professor McGonagal’s protests and Albus' amused smiles, of course.
One evening in February, after spending two hours with the so-called 'dance committee' that Albus had volunteered him for, Xander found himself at the doors to Remus' office. He didn't want to enter, but felt suddenly obligated to fix this rift that had been created between them. He was still standing there, staring at the door, thirty minutes later when Andrew happened to walk past.
"You're driving me insane." Andrew informed him. "Just get in there and talk to the idiot!"
"Don't call him that." Xander glared.
"Just do it." Andrew ordered, opening the door and shoving Xander inside. Xander winced as the door slammed behind him, causing Remus to look up from the papers he was grading.
"Xander." Remus said softly, looking rather tense. Xander took a deep breath and walked over to the desk.
"Look, I'm just going to say this as quickly as I can, in hopes I won't embarrass myself." Xander told him. "I like you. I really, really like you. And, sure, I'd love to be in one of those cuddly relationships where we kiss and do naughty things. I would adore that, as a matter of fact. But, apparently, you don't want that. That's okay. I don't mind. Well, I do mind, but it's kind of like chocolate. I love chocolate and would give anything to have chocolate, but sometimes you just can't. And if someone was to take chocolate away from me, then I'd at least want to go the rest of my life smelling it. That way, while I might not be able to taste it, I can still have some part of... Chocolate."
"Are you implying I'm like... Chocolate?" Remus asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Umm... Well, you're... Smooth and yummy like... Huh, I'm really screwing this up, aren't I?" Xander replied.
"I am amazed. Simply amazed." Severus stated in his cold tone. Andrew sighed dreamily and pushed his way into Severus' chamber. "How is it you manage to interrupt me every time I start to enjoy the quiet?"
"It's a gift." Andrew grinned as he bounced over to one of the large leather chairs. Severus fought down a groan of agitation. "So... Watcha doing?"
"What are you doing?" Severus corrected.
"That's what I said." Andrew frowned.
"Very well." Severus said through gritted teeth. "I am reading. Something I prefer to do alone, as it were."
"Cool." Andrew smiled, not taking the barely subtle hint. Severus narrowed his dark eyes and strode over to Andrew. Andrew stared up at him, taking in the offensive stance and obvious attempt in seeming dangerous. "Very impressive. You might want to add a little growl. You know so it's more-"
"Get out." Severus ordered.
"No." Andrew said stubbornly.
"Mini-Red's off hunting. The whelp is trying to get into Remus' pants. Andrew is stalking Batman." Spike leered over at Oz. "Just you and me, pet."
Oz merely smiled as Spike launched at him. After a long kissing session, Spike pulled back. "Why do I get the feeling something interesting is happening elsewhere?"
"Maybe there is." Oz shrugged.
"Huh... Oh well." Spike leered once more and began unzipping Oz's pants.
"Look, Remus." Xander said. "I just want to be your friend. If I can't be your... You know, then I want to remain friends."
"Xander, what makes you think we aren't?" Remus asked.
"I'm not stupid, okay? I may be young, but I know what's going on around me." Xander replied, looking agitated. "You have been avoiding me. Don't deny it, Remus."
Remus didn't respond. Instead, he stared down at the essay he was grading. The red ink had dripped from his quill, creating a large spot that looked like blood. After a moment, it seemed as though Xander can't take the silence. He quickly walked around the desk and kneeled next to Remus' chair.
"Listen to me." Xander ordered and Remus found himself complying. "I like you. I will always like you. Hell, I just may love you. I've followed you around for months trying to get your attention, so I'm not about to let you go so easily."
"Xan-" Remus started.
But he was caught off by Xander grabbing a hold of his head and pulling him forward. Warm lips attacked his own. A gentle tongue slipped into his parted mouth. Remus was certain this wasn't happening. The power, the strength behind the kiss was overwhelming and he couldn't do anything but submit to it. Remus allowed himself to be pulled into the kiss, to respond just as desperately as Xander. And when Xander began to pull away, Remus felt that it was too soon.
Refusing to let Xander speak, Remus slipped a hand behind Xander's head and pulled the younger man back to him. This time he took the control, devouring that sweet mouth. Taking in all he could. A part of him felt like he could do this forever.
"I don't see why you have to be so stubborn." Andrew stated, giving Severus a pouting glare.
"I don't see why you must annoy me as you do." Severus retorted.
"You like me." Andrew told him with confidence. "Admit it."
"..." Severus slowly walked past him and sat down in a nearby chair. "I will admit to no such thing. You're a bit like a fly, you know. Always buzzing and interrupting me."
"And you are a great bat, but you don't see me telling you." Andrew replied, before frowning. "Oh... Heh, just did."
"I've told you many times, I do not like you. We are not dating." Severus said coldly. "What we had was just a moment of insanity on my part. As for you? Well, you are simply insane in general. Do you understand me?"
"I'm not stupid." Andrew glared. "I know exactly what you are getting at. Sorry for thinking there was more to you than what you put out. Sorry for trying... Bastard."
Severus watched in shock as Andrew stood, back rod-stiff. The young blonde wiped at his eyes and turned for the door. Andrew ignored Severus' stare and quickly left Severus' chambers. He wandered the dungeons, not really in the mood to talk to anyone. It was as he walked past Spike's room that an idea struck him. A slow, naughty smile graced his lips and he began banging on Spike's door.
"Bloody hell, what is it?" The door was thrown open to reveal Spike, nude except for a thin sheet wrapped around his waist.
"Hey, Spike." Andrew greeted.
"Oh, it's you." Spike glared. "What do you want?"
"I have a plan. I need your help." Andrew said, bouncing from foot to foot. Spike stared at him a moment, before letting out a loud sigh.
"Right. Stay here." Spike shut the door on Andrew. Andrew rubbed his hands together and cackled, before leaning against the dungeon wall and waiting for Spike to come out.
"You, Mr. Lupin, are a jerk." Xander stated when they finally separated long enough to speak. "You made me feel horrible, you know."
"I..." Remus looked away, before slowly standing from his chair. "I still think I'm too old for you."
"Yeah, okay." Xander rolled his eyes. "Whatever you say, Remus. You keep believing that. As long as I'm getting Remus-Kisses then I'm fine with it."
"Really?" Remus asked, eyebrow raised.
"Yup!" Xander grinned. He literally bounced over and took hold of Remus' hand. "Now, let's go to dinner, shall we?"
The goofy grin remained plastered on Xander's face all the way to the Great Hall. Remus couldn't help but smile. A part of him still wondered if a relationship with this young man would be wise, but the rest of him suddenly didn't care. He could still remember the morning he woke up after the full moon, with Xander curled up next to him. It was a wonderful feeling, and, if Remus was honest with himself, he hoped there would be more mornings like that.
"So, one month until that stupid ball." Xander was saying as they walked toward the teacher's table. "What say me and you go and hide in the corner, making out? I figure we can scare off all the hormonal teens who want to use the space for wrong doing. And... Wow, Andrew... What are you doing?"
"I'm feeding Spike. What does it look like?" Andrew replied from his perch on Spike's lap. The blonde man was practically draped over the vampire, with one hand slipped under his shirt and the other holding a cup of blood. Spike had a lecherous expression on his face. Oz sat next to them, his back stiff and wearing a forced kind of smile.
"Okay, why?" Xander asked as he and Remus sat down. Spike made a small gesture toward Xander's other side.
When Xander turned to look, he really didn't know whether to laugh or groan in frustration. Severus was sitting at the end of the table looking like a large black lump that had eaten too many lemons. He was staring down at Andrew and Spike with narrowed eyes. Xander shook his head and turned back to Andrew.
"You really shouldn't tease him like that." Xander informed him.
"Why not?" Andrew pouted. "He started it."
"Really?" Xander shared a look with Remus. "And just what did he do?"
"He told me he didn't like me." Andrew replied in a pitiful voice. He let out a small sigh, before returning to feeding Spike.
"Oz? What do you have to say about this?" Xander asked, leaning to look over at him.
"What about it?" Oz asked.
"Do you approve of Andrew crawling all over your boyfriend?"
"Should I?" Oz returned.
"I wouldn't be." Xander frowned. "If someone was crawling all over Remus I'd-"
"Oh, did you two finally shag?" Spike asked in the disturbingly perky voice that Xander had slowly become accustomed to hearing. There was a small noise to Xander's right. It took him a moment to realize it was Remus growling softly. "Hello? Whelp?
"Huh?" Xander asked, his eyes glazed over.
"Oi, Wolf! Stop turning the whelp on. I'm trying to embarrass him, here." Spike insisted.
"Shut up, Spike." Xander grumbled. "And for your information, we haven't shagged. Not yet anyway."
"Oh-Ho!" Spike grinned wickedly. "Hey, if you're in need of some lube-"
"Spike!" Xander protested.
"Then you'll have to get your own." Spike finished. "Me and Oz are running low."
"Oh, he won't have to worry about that." Andrew chirped. And really, now that Xander thought about it, Andrew was the only person aside from Willow that could get away with chirping.
"Why's that?" Spike asked, before taking a gulp of blood.
"Because wizard's use a spell." Andrew replied. "It's really need. You press the tip of the wand-"
"Okay, I really don't want to know about Batman and you having a happy, okay?" Xander interrupted, before turning to Remus and lowering his voice. "Do you know that spell?"
"Yes." Remus replied, looking away with an almost bashful expression. Xander wasn't fooled, he could see the true look in his eyes.
"Good." Xander stated before digging into his plate.
"Would you like some more?" Andrew giggled loudly. Xander watched as an almost evil expression crossed Andrew's face when Severus suddenly stood up with a clatter of silverware and stormed out of the room.
"Will you two stop that?" Ginny demanded. Xander pulled away from Remus, their lips separating with what sounded like a pop. His Slayer stood over him, her foot tapping. "I have something I need to discuss with you."
"What's up?" Xander asked. Ginny took a deep breath and pulled out her wand. "You're not going to hex me, are you?"
"No." Ginny frowned slightly, before shaking her head. "Okay. Tell me which one you like. This one?" With a wave of her wand, her clothes changed into a deep green dress, with a light green outer robe. She waved her wand again and her outfit morphed into delicate looking golden-yellow dress with red accents and a red robe. "Or this?"
"I'm rather fond of this one. But I'm a Gryffindor, so..." Remus shrugged.
"I like this one." Xander agreed. "It makes you look like a bright, bursting sun! And kind of sparkly."
"There's no glitter." Ginny said. "How can I be sparkly?"
"I dunno... I just like that word." Xander admitted. Ginny glared. "What?"
"I should of known not to ask you two." Ginny shook her head sadly. "None the less, if I was to wear this dress then I need to pick out the right shoes." Ginny waved her wand one more time and two different styles of shoe appeared on each foot. "Okay. These?" She lifted one leg. "Or these?" She hoped over to the other leg. "Well?"
"I don't know... Do it again." Xander replied.
"These?" Hop. "Or these?" Hop.
"Hmmm... I don't know.... Do it again?"
"These?" Bounce. "Or these?" Bounce.
"Huh..." Xander tilted his head. "What do you think, Remus?"
"I'm not certain..." Remus said. "Do it again."
"These?" Hop. "Or these?" Bounce.
"I don't know." Xander frowned slightly. "Do it again?"
"Xander!" Ginny exclaimed, stomping her foot in rage. She glared over at Remus, who was chuckling. "Professor Lupin, I'm shocked!"
"I'm terribly sorry, Miss Weasley." Remus said, actually looking ashamed for a moment, before a smile fought it's way onto his face.
"Look at what you've done to him." Ginny accused. Xander raised his hands in defense. "He use to be sweet and charming, now look!"
"Hey, he was like that before I met him." Xander replied. "You guys just didn't see it. Which, by the way, you must have been blind to not see the little glint in his sexy eyes."
"Fine. Whatever." Ginny huffed. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have patrolling to do. Merlin knows it's more interesting than sitting here and watching you two make out like a couple of teenagers." Ginny started walking away. "And here I thought I approved of your relationship." As she reached the door, she spun around. "Oh, and Snape is on a war path because of what Andrew did, so I'd avoid the dungeons for about a week or two."
"I'm thinking hostile take over." Xander said.
"Yeah, but he'd probably scream." Spike pointed out. "Do you bloody want him squealing in your ear? 'Cause I don't."
"Good point." Xander nodded.
"Why don't you just sit him down and talk to him?" Remus asked.
"Because this is Andrew." Xander replied, as though that explained everything. "Now, Remus, you have your duties."
"Yes." Remus sighed. "Distract Severus long enough for you to kidnap Andrew... I really don't think this is necessary. They'll make up in time."
"Yeah, just like last time. Remember? Big hormonal scene in the hallway, followed by Andrew walking funny the next day?" Xander asked. "They'll have their violent happy, then have a big breakup a day later. I don't want to see it, you don't want to see. And none of us want to hear Andrew whine anymore, right?"
"Fine." Remus relented.
"Okay, so... Hostile take over?" Xander suggested one more time.
"As long as you take the head, so he isn't screaming in my ear, I'll go for it." Spike said. He looked over at Oz, who was his ever present shadow since Andrew's stint at teasing Severus. "What about you?"
"I'll be look out." Oz offered.
"That's my wolf." Spike said proudly.
All three men sent each other plotting smiles, while Remus simply shook his head. They made their way down to the dungeons, where they knew Andrew and Severus could be found. As they suspected, the couple was in Severus' office. Loud voices echoed from the room, arguing back and forth. Remus took a deep breath and entered the office, while the other three hid around the corner.
"Severus, I was-" Remus stopped mid-sentence, taking in the scene before him. Severus had Andrew pinned against the side of his desk, hovering over him like some overgrown bat. Andrew was glaring at him in a defiant way. "Did I interrupt something?"
"Yes, as a matter of fact you were." Severus hissed, not taking his eyes off of Andrew.
"I see... Well, I was hoping-"
"Severus would be happy to help you with anything you need. We're done here." Andrew said in a cold voice that Remus didn't think the young man was capable of until now.
"No, we aren't." Severus growled.
"You must be mistaken, Severus." Andrew replied. "I do believe I'm tired of hearing your ranting."
"I was not-" Severus stopped, his eyes narrowing. "No, you see here. I don't care if Lupin hears this or not, do you understand me? Don't you ever, and I mean ever, pull something like this again. I'm warning you now, I'm not a very kind man when pushed."
"You're not a very kind man unless you're getting screwed." Andrew said, before he glanced away and his eyes lost that strong, determined look for a second. He composed himself, and turned back to Severus. "You said yourself that we aren't together. I can flirt with anyone I want."
"Maybe I should-" Remus started, his voice quiet.
"Shut up, Lupin!" Severus hissed. "While you may not believe it, Andrew, I don't go for random acts of the flesh, just for the fun of it."
"Really?" Andrew asked, his normal, perky self popping up briefly.
"Salazar's Balls." Severus cursed, before gripping Andrew tighter and looking at him fiercely. "You are mine. Do you understand that? Mine!"
"Wow..." Andrew whispered in awe, before breaking into a wide grin. "Okay! Hey, let me just go tell Spike, so he won't have to pretend anymore, okay? I really don't want Oz any madder than he already is."
Severus watched in shock and just a mild case of horror as Andrew bounced out of the room.
"Well, now you've done it." Remus commented.
"I beg your pardon?" Severus asked stiffly.
"All I'm saying is that if you didn't mean what you just said, you are setting yourself up for a severe downfall." Remus informed him. He gave Severus a look, before leaving to go inform Xander that his plan was no longer needed.
"So, I was thinking of asking a Slytherin to the Spring Ball." Ginny announced from behind yet another demonology book. Xander had finally given up trying to regulate what Ginny read. It was a lost cause.
"Slytherins." Andrew said in a dreamy fashion.
"Right." Ginny gave him a strange look, before closing her book and turning to Xander. "I mean, I'm not sure if she's... Into girls, but who am I to be shy?"
"I've never known you to be." Xander pointed out. Ginny sent him a brilliant, blinding smile. "Go for it. If Neville can go out with Draco, then you should be able to go out with... Who is it?"
"Milchentbshde." Ginny mumbled.
"Millicent Bulstrode." Ginny grounded out, reopening her book to bury her face within the pages.
"Are you serious?" Andrew squealed. "She's... Huge!"
"Andrew, it's not nice to call people fat." Xander told him. "You wouldn't want people calling you a geek or dork or a skinny little twerp or annoying, would you?"
"I didn't mean fat, Xander." Andrew replied in an exasperated tone. "I meant she's huge. She all muscular and tall and... Well, she makes me nervous."
"Everyone makes you nervous." Ginny said. Xander nodded in agreement.
"Fine, whatever." Andrew huffed, standing. "I'm going to see Severus."
The duo watched him dart out of the room, before grinning at one another. Ginny set her book to the side and grabbed a sword, while Xander did the same. "So, life is good."
"What do you mean?" Ginny asked, the clangs of blade against blade echoing through the room.
"You're gay and bouncing from one crush to another like every self-respecting teenager should. All the little students of Hogwarts are getting a dance thanks to me. Spike's got himself a nice little home with a nice little wolf and plenty of blood. Andrew's in a complicated relationship that makes an absurd kind of sense." Xander explained.
"What about you?"
"Me? I'm... Happy." Xander shrugged.
"Bisexual." Xander corrected. "But that's no big deal, because I'm not planning on leaving Remus anytime soon."
"So, you're happy." Ginny stated, before knocking Xander's sword out of his hand.
"Yeah, I am." Xander replied.
"And you're dead." Ginny said, poking Xander in the chest lightly with her sword and grinning.