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Articulation

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Summary: A carpenter and a wizard walk into a bar. Two men bond over past relationships and start a new one. Xander/Harry. Slash

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > Xander-Centered > Pairing: Harry PotterAllyndraFR181531,23439124105,76421 Apr 065 Jun 06Yes

Chapter One

Disclaimer: Xander and all things Buffyverse belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Fox, and others who are not me. Harry and the wizarding world belong to J.K. Rowling, Scholastic, Warner Brothers, and people who are, likewise, not me.

Summary: A carpenter and a wizard walk into a bar. Two men bond over past relationships and start a new one. Will be Xander/Harry [SLASH] Reference to past Spike/Xander and Harry/Draco.

************

The pub around him was busy and loud, but Xander was happy to be tucked silently into a corner. He took a sip of his ale, neglecting the glass of whiskey that also sat in front of him; he only ordered the whiskey from habit. The pub he'd chosen last night had been full of wild soccer fans. The night before that he'd taken a stool next to an old man who had regaled him with tales of how to tame a wife, oblivious to Xander's attempts to escape. Three nights ago, a woman with improbably red hair and inappropriately tight clothes had latched onto him and refused to budge. In fact, he'd had such a string of bad luck when he went to pubs, he'd been tempted to accuse Willow of a poorly thought out attempt to keep him from drinking too much. He could have told her he didn't need an intervention; he had no intention of following the Harris family tradition.

But so far tonight had gone fine. The pub he'd chosen was fairly clean, and well lit enough that he could be aware of his surroundings. Mirrors behind the bar let him check the crowd for vampires. And best of all, he had gotten the perfect seat. A wall at his back and another on his left, Xander sat with his belly to the bar. This meant that he was only really vulnerable on his right. Since he was right handed and still possessed his right eye, Xander had decided this seat was intended for him by the Powers That Be and had taken possession of it. The guy sitting next to him seemed disinclined to lecture or hit on him, so Xander was counting that as a plus, too. Looked like his pub-curse was broken.

A bright flash in the mirror caught his attention, and Xander turned a bit to see what it was. His breath hitched as saw what it had been. A man was crossing the room, his back to Xander. His platinum blonde hair gleamed, slicked back on his head. His clothing was all black, and it clung to his body, revealing tight, smooth muscles. The man moved gracefully through the crowd. Shocked, Xander's body jerked. Then the man turned and for a moment disappointment flooded through him. Xander had known it couldn't be Spike. There was no way it could be Spike. Still, it was like getting proof that Santa didn't exist, even after you'd stopped believing in him. It sucked.

He dragged his eyes away from the blonde man and looked down at the bar. Shit. He'd hit the whiskey glass when he'd been spazzing out about the Spike impersonator. Dammit, he only ordered the stuff because Spike always had. Now it had spilled all over the guy sitting next to him...who was so busy staring at the blonde man that he hadn't noticed yet.

***

Harry had chosen a muggle pub on purpose. For one thing, there were still Death Eaters after him, and there just weren't that many wizarding pubs to choose from. If he went to one of them, it would be fairly easy to track him down and attack when he was drunk. For another thing, sometimes he got sick of being scrutinized. If he went to a wizarding establishment, he would be watched. Other patrons would ask for his autograph, the bartender would give him his drinks free, but would ask for an endorsement in return, someone might alert the press. He didn't much fancy seeing his own drunken mishaps reported in the Prophet the next day. So, he went to muggle London. There were more than enough pubs to lose himself in there.

He had found a place where he could watch the door, just in case someone did track him down, and had settled in for some lonely drinking. He supposed he could have asked Ron to come along, but Ron stood out in the muggle world like a sore thumb. Hermione would have blended in better, but Harry wasn't ready to spend time alone with her, yet. She'd want to talk, and talking was not high on his priority list right now.

Harry scanned the crowd, glad that they seemed genial rather than morose or violent, when the movement of a man in the crowd caught his eye. He gasped and flushed, unable to look away. The hair, the clothes, the body type...hell, he even moved like Draco. Then he heard the man laugh. It was a high, irritating laugh, and Draco had never sounded like that. Still, it took a moment for Harry to get himself back under control. He drew a shuddering breath and focused. That's when he noticed he was dripping. Someone had spilled a drink on him. That someone was looking at him curiously and offering a napkin.

***
"Sorry," Xander said. "I thought I saw someone I knew." He was surprised at the look of shock that flashed through the man's green eyes at that statement. He gave a weak chuckle. "Wasn't him, though."

The man accepted the napkin Xander had been holding out and started wiping awkwardly at the spilled whiskey. His eyes darted up to Xander's face and then back down. When he spoke, it was so soft that Xander had to strain to hear it over the sounds of the pub. "Who?" he asked.

Xander looked at the man, trying to decide what to say. It was a pity you couldn't tell a bigot just by looking at them. Why couldn't they have signs on their forehead, or wear those silly Bajoran chain-earrings to identify themselves. Oh well. If the guy freaked out, Xander could just leave. So he sighed and then said, "Boyfriend."

When the man tensed up, Xander prepared himself for a homophobic rant at best, flung beer and punch to the face at worst. He was very surprised, therefore, when the man closed his eyes tightly and ran a hand through his messy hair before saying, "Me, too."

"You're kidding. That guy over there? He reminds you of your boyfriend?"

"Yeah. Well, erm, not current boyfriend. He...died. A few months ago. So I knew it wasn't him, but still." The man's eyes were opened again, and Xander wished they weren't, because he was gaping like a fish and would have preferred no witnesses.

"M-mine too. That's freaky. Like looking-around-for-Rod-Serling freaky."

***

Harry wasn't thinking about supernatural reasons that he and this strange, one-eyed man should both have dead boyfriends who were apparently dead ringers for each other. He was thinking of more mundane explanations. Mundane could-my-boyfriend-have-been-cheating-on-me reasons. He didn't think it was possible. They had been in the middle of the war, after all. Harry's long suppressed insecurities flared to life. He decided to fish for more information.

"I knew it wasn't him when I heard him laugh," Harry volunteered, thinking it might prompt the other man to describe his boyfriend. He watched as the man smiled a bit, a rueful tilt to his mouth. He turned to face Harry more directly, and Harry saw for the first time that the man wore an eyepatch over his left eye.

"Yeah. Spike would never laugh like that. Not that he laughed a lot in public. He was more of a sarcatic smirking kind of guy." Okay, that was not good. Draco had practically patented the sarcastic smirk.

"You were both from America? I mean, your accent sounds American," Harry stumbled a bit over his words. This would clear it up. Draco, for all his talents, was dreadful with accents. He would never have been able to pretend to be American. If this man's boyfriend had been a Yank, he could stop worrying.

"No. I mean, yes, I am American. I'm from California, but Spike was British. One of the reasons I moved here was to see the places he used to tell me about." The man's brown eye grew distant as he thought about times past. Well, sod that. Harry wasn't going to sit about reminiscing when Draco may have been cheating on him.

Time to go for proof. "Do you have a picture of him?"

***

Xander was surprised by the question. Sure, he'd been talking to this guy, but they weren't exactly bonding. It seemed a little strange to ask to see a picture. But he didn't mind so much. None of his friends had been aware of his relationship with Spike, so he couldn't exactly cry on their shoulders. He shrugged and took out his wallet. He fished out a picture of himself, Dawn, and Spike at a carnival on the beach. The lights of the ferris wheel shone behind them, and Dawn held a cotton candy. They'd been happy.

He held out the picture to the other man. "That's Spike," he said, tapping the picture. It was his favorite shot of Spike. He wasn't quite smiling, but his blue eyes sparkled in a way that told Xander he wanted to smile. He just thought it was inappropriate for the Big Bad. His own mood improved, just looking at that picture. It was apparently having the same effect of the man sitting next to him.

As he looked at Xander's picture, the man relaxed. He heaved a sigh that seemed almost relieved and gave Xander a little grin. "He's cute." It sounded almost like a peace offering. Which was strange, because they hadn't been fighting.

"Yeah, well, he used to threaten extreme violence to people who called him cute. But you're right. He was." Xander's lips twisted into a wry smile. Suddenly he realized he still didn't know this man's name. He held out his hand. "I'm Xander, by the way."

***

"Harry." Harry took Xander's hand and shook it. He was glad the other man hadn't given his last name. Even in a muggle pub, he didn't like to say his full name aloud. The words 'Harry Potter' drew attention at the most unlikely of times. He released Xander's hand and looked back at the picture. Spike had been older than Draco. Not by much, but then Xander only looked to be a few years older than Harry. His eyes had been blue rather than grey, and he'd had a scar on his eyebrow. Draco's face had been flawless.

Suddenly self-conscious, Harry handed the picture back and dug for his own wallet. He felt silly for his suspicions, and he wanted to make up for them. He searched through his wallet till he found the non-moving muggle snap he'd gotten from Colin Creevey. Draco stared out of it, still and pale and beautiful like a marble statue. His face was set into it's public mask, but Harry didn't mind much. He knew what had lain behind the mask.

"Here," he said holding the picture of Draco for Xander to see. "This one's mine." Xander set the two pictures side by side. The men were very similar, with their pale hair and skin and angular faces. But side by side the differences stood out. Harry noticed that even gelled back, Spike's hair showed signs of curls or waves. Draco's hair had been perfectly straight.

"They might have been brothers," Harry said. He didn't understand why Xander seemed to find that statement funny. The other man finally choked out, "Sorry...you don't know Spike's family." Suddenly, Xander stoppped laughing and handed Harry his picture back. 'Did I say something wrong?' Whatever his reason, the one-eyed man was leaving.
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