Hogwarts School Daze

Hogwarts School Daze

Xander's first day returning to the school he's never been to

note: if you've ever checked out the school calendar for the hp lexicon, you'll see that it's rather confusing.  I don't know how any of the Hogwarts students could keep up with their own schedule, much less try to keep up with a time turner as well.  So, the classes in my story may not be in their proper order.

Breakfast 7:00-8:30

Buffy and Willow could never ever make fun of his fashion sense or lack thereof, Xander thought as he looked at the Headmaster of Hogwarts.  The man was beaming down at his students who, if they hadn't already been awake for breakfast, were certainly going to be startled into awareness by Albus Dumbledore's very loud and probably esthetically illegal outfit.

Xander blinked again, trying to get the spots (red and orange spots, which were swirling randomly around Dumbledore's bright purple robes) out of his eyes as he turned to hear Ron pointing out to Hermione that she couldn't possibly have time to go to three classes at once.  Xander just snickered.

"Don't worry about it, Ron.  I'm sure Hermione can do anything she sets her mind to doing," he said, elbowing his friend.  "Besides, if she *is* going to all those classes, think of how fit she'll be after lugging all those books around."  Xander grinned at his friends.  "Maybe she can punch Malfoy out for me later this year." 

"Right, mate," Ron said, rolling his eyes.  "Like Hermione would ever punch anybody.  She's too girly."

"And just what is wrong with being girly, Ronald?" Hermione demanded with a glare.

"Nothing!" Ron replied quickly as Xander sighed and shook his head.  "Nothing at all.  Your girlyness is very nice.  Just don't want to catch it myself."

Xander started chuckling as the bushy-haired Gryffindor huffed and turned back to her breakfast.  "Honestly, Ron.  It's not like I have cooties or something."

"Right!" Ron agreed immediately and watched for a moment to make sure Hermione was done.  Then he turned to Xander and asked in a low tone, "What're cooties, mate?  Should I worry?"

Xander cracked up again.

9am - Divination
(Muggle Studies and Arithmancy for Hermione as well)

Xander sneezed and then sneezed again, spilling a bit of the tea in his cup that Professor Trelawney had just filled.  He tried to keep from spilling more while he casually wiped his nose on his sleeve.  Again, he *silently* wished for a box of facial tissue.  He would never again take tissues for granted.  Or Coke.  Or ::sniff:: Twinkies.

With a sigh, Xander settled back into his chair and stared into the rather stale looking tea.  He grimaced a bit at the thought of drinking the stuff.  No matter how many years Giles had tried, he just couldn't convince the scoobies that tea was the ultimate drink of choice.  Xander had only once suggested perhaps a little ice and sugar would help and he shuddered still today at the glare he'd received from his mentor. 

Xander sighed again as Ron sat down across his table.  Then something caught his eye behind Ron and a brilliant plan formed. 

"Say, Ron, would you mind switching chairs with me?  There's a good mate," Xander said as he stood. 

Ron blinked up at him for a moment and then shrugged.  He picked up his own cup of watery tea and switched chairs with Xander as Hermione sat down with a questioning look at her friends.  Ron shrugged again and looked at Xander.  Xander just smiled, glanced over at their teacher, who was busily pouring tea into a beaming Lavender Brown's cup.  Then he took his own cup and poured most of the offending liquid into the rather scraggly plant that sat just behind him.

When he straightened up again, Ron and Hermione were staring at him in surprise.  He gave them a goofy smile and swished the remaining tea and dregs in his cup.

"I'm trying to cut back on cold, stale tea," he stated as he opened his divination book to the appropriate page. 

"Doesn't it defeat the purpose of reading tea leaves if you don't drink the tea, Xander?" Hermione asked, her tone a bit dry.

"Naaaaah," Xander replied as he gave his cup one last swish before he carefully dribbled out the remaining tea into the plant.  "That's an old wives tale, I'm sure.  I don't think a little lack of tea drinking will make that much difference in the grounds in this cup."  He reached in a poked at the grounds.  They were kinda shaped like a growling dog.  Awwww, maybe he should take a picture for Sirius.

Instead, he glanced up at Trelawney when she instructed the class to switch their cups with their partner.  Then, as she swooped down to terrorize poor Neville, he quickly reached into the grounds and poked the picture out of shape.

"I don't think you're supposed to reshape your tea leaves either," Hermione pointed out but Xander just shrugged and passed her his cup.  She passed her teacup to Ron who then handed his still half-full cup to Xander.

"Mate, would you mind?" Ron said with a grin as he gestured at the plant.

Xander smirked and glanced at his teacher before he poured most of the remaining tea in the plant.  He straightened just in time for Trelawney to glance their way.  He studied Ron's cup diligently.

"So Ron," he said as he glanced from the cup to "Unfogging the Future" and back to the cup.  Xander blinked once and then again before he turned the cup this way and that.  "There's a rat in your cup and he's looking kinda of...scared."

"Really?  Must be Scabbers," Ron said with a glare at Hermione.  It was Ron's belief that her evil cat, Crookshanks, continued to terrify Scabbers whenever possible. 

"What does that say about the future?" Hermione asked doubtfully.  Xander studied the cup again and looked a little vague.  Then he smiled wickedly.

"There also seems to be a cage around the rat.  Perhaps it means he needs to be caged or boxed up for his own safety."  Xander glanced up at Ron who had a thoughtful look on his face.  "You wouldn't want him to get eaten by anything would you?"  Xander spared a quick look at a scowling Hermione.  "Accidentally, of course."

The older boy glared at Xander for a moment before he nodded.  "He *has* been in my family for almost twelve years now," the redhead replied.  "Maybe I should keep him in a cage.  He is getting old and at least the demon cat couldn't get to him."

Hermione just rolled her eyes and turned to study Xander's rather mashed tealeaves.  She turned the cup slowly counterclockwise and then glanced at the book.

"It looks like a dog," she said slowly as she continued to study it.  Xander stiffened before he reached over and took his cup back from his surprised friend. 

"It most certainly does not look like a dog," he muttered as he studied the image.  "I made sure it didn't look like a dog."  But sure enough, the leaves he had pushed and poked to show anything other than a grim had shaped themselves back into...a grim.  "Damn it."

"Xander!  Language!" Hermione said and reached over to snatch his cup back.  "And it's very rude to snatch someone's cup!"

Xander blinked at her and then snickered.  "Like you just did?"

Hermione sniffed and then studied the cup again.  "You started it," she muttered and Xander exchanged a smirk with Ron.  "It's definitely a dog."

"Ron, look up Dachshund in the book," Xander said quickly.

Hermione just rolled her eyes.  "It's not a Dachshund, more of a Shepherd."  Hermione squinted a bit.  "A rather demonic Shepherd."

Xander snorted a bit with laughter and couldn't wait to tell Sirius *that* interpretation.  His laugh, however, had attracted the attention of their teacher who walked over and picked up the cup beside Ron.

"Now, let us see what is in Mr. Harris' cup," she said as she studied it intently.  Ron looked up at her oddly.

"But that's not..."

The professor held up a hand.  "Hush, I must concentrate on my inner eye," she said faintly as she stared into the cup.

"But Professor...."

But Trelawney wasn't listening.  Suddenly her huge eyes widened and she gasped before she set the cup quickly back on the table.

"My dear...I am so sorry!" she said with a whimper as she looked at Xander.  "You have a hellcat in your cup!"

Xander's brows rose a bit before he picked up the cup.  "A hellcat?" he murmured as he studied the leaves.  It did kinda look like Crookshanks.  If you squinted.

"A hellcat!  My dear!  They are omens of tragedy!  Of death!"  Trelawney dramatically drew out the 'th sound in her last word and she stepped backwards.  "I'm afraid your death is soon upon you!  It will come to steal your breath and soul!"

There was complete silence in the room as everyone stared at Xander in horror.  He just sighed and handed the cup to Hermione for her perusal. 

"Congratulations, it's a Hellcat, Hermione," he noted idly.

She looked at it for a moment, turned it a bit clockwise and then squinted.  "It does sort of look like Crookshanks," she finally stated.

"That explains a lot," Ron muttered and Hermione glared at him.

Xander picked up his own teacup and handed it to his teacher.  "Here's mine if you'd like to look."

Professor Trelawney blinked at him for several seconds before she noted that there were three people at Xander's table instead of two.  She snatched the cup Xander held out and paled even further as she glanced into the cup.

"The grim!" she screeched, "My dear you have the grim!" 

Xander sighed again and wished for some glasses to polish.  He understood Giles so much better now.


10:30 am - Transfiguration

"Mr. Harris," Professor McGonagall's voice came from over his right shoulder and Xander jumped.  "What exactly *is* that thing on your desk?" she asked is a very disapproving tone.

Xander looked down at the object mocking him from his desk.

"It's a Twinkie, Ma'am," he said.

The teacher glared down at the bread-loaf sized yellow cake-like thing and then turned back to her student.

"You were supposed to turn that book into a bird, Mr. Harris.  Inanimate to animal!  Not a...whatever that is!"

"Yes, ma'am, I know but I'm really hungry and I was thinking about Twinkies and well...there it is."  Xander studied it longingly.  "Do you think I could eat it?" he asked with a hopeful look.

"No, Mr. Harris, I think you should turn it back into a book and then try to do the transfiguration again.  Correctly, this time!" the professor snapped as she turned away.  Xander watched unhappily as she stalked away to another student.

"That actually looks a bit tasty, mate," Seamus said as he leaned over to look at the very large snack cake.  "Maybe we could try one later."

Xander sighed.


12-1 lunch

"Ron, cheer up," said Hermione as she pushed a dish of stew towards the brooding teenager.  "You heard what Professor McGonagall said.  Trelawney picks on one student every year and predicts their death.  She couldn't even tell that first cup wasn't Xander's!"

Ron spooned some stew onto his plate but didn't start eating.  He glanced over at Xander who was slathering an obscene amount of mayonnaise onto a rather loaded roast beef sandwich.  Then he leaned over and popped open a can of Coke. 

"Make me drink stale tea in class, will you?" he was muttering before he took a long, blissful drink of carbonated, caffeinated goodness.  Hermione and Ron stared at him.

"Xander, where did you get that Coke?" Hermione asked curiously.

Xander, who was about to take a bite out of his monster sandwich, glanced up at his friends and then down at his cola.  He considered it for a moment before the very ominous word, SPEW, ghosted through his mind.  Immediately, he determined that under no circumstances would he be the one responsible for revealing the existence of house elves to Hermione.  As a matter of fact, he needed to speak with them and make sure they stayed out of her way completely.

" asked the table for it and poof...there is was," he stammered out before he took a big bite of his sandwich which would keep him from answering questions for a few minutes at least.  No one needed to know he'd begged and pleaded with the kitchen house-elves, trying to convince them of the importance of a steady cola supply.  He had to have his caffeine and sugar, after all, didn't he?

Hermione looked a bit excited but Ron just grimaced as he watched Xander take another drink of his cola.  "How can you stand that stuff, mate?" he asked as he scrunched up his nose.  Xander just sighed blissfully and took another bite of his sandwich.

Ron poked at his stew for a bit before he glanced back over at his friend.  "Xander," he asked in a low, serious voice.  "You haven't seen a big, black dog anywhere, have you?"

"Well," he younger boy said after he chewed a few moments and then set his sandwich down, "I might have seen one here and there in the alley."

Ron let his fork fall to his plate with a clatter.

"And he might have..." Xander glanced from one friend to the other, "stayed with me in my room at the Leaky Cauldron."  He gave his friends a grin as he reached into his back pocket and drew out his wallet.  "Wanna see his picture?"  He had several copies, most of which he hid in his trunk.  It wouldn't do to be caught without such blackmail material once he got Sirius cleared.

"You have a picture of a grim?" Ron squeaked as Xander held out a small photo he'd pulled from his wallet.  The redhead held his hands up and scooted backwards, almost falling off the bench.  "I don't want to see a picture of a grim!"

Xander snorted and handed it, instead, to Hermione who immediately squealed in delight and cooed over the gleaming black, obviously pouting, hound with the large pink bow.

"Oh, he is so handsome, Xander!" she sighed and then squinted at the picture.  "Are his nails painted pink?"

"Yeah," Xander said with a snicker.  "The groomer went all out to clean him up.  I found him on the way to the Leaky Cauldron after I blew up Aunt Marge.  He was a mess."

Ron was practically hyperventilating beside Hermione with a horrified expression.  "You took a stray grim to a groomer and then let it stay with you at the Leaky Cauldron?"

His voice was rising and other people eating in the Hall glanced over at the trio curiously.

"Ron, keep it down!" Xander scowled and then gestured at the picture.  "I don't think it's a grim, really.  I mean, I stayed with him for a month in the Alley and I'm still alive, aren't I?  He was just a really, sweet, cuddly dog."

"What happened to him, Xander?" Hermione asked as she offered the picture to Ron who shied away from it like it was poison.  Hermione sighed and handed it back to Xander who put it back in his wallet.

"I couldn't bring him with me to Hogwarts and I guess he knew that," he said a bit sadly as he slathered a little more mustard on his half-eaten sandwich.  "He took off the day before I left."

"So now there's a very well groomed grim running around with a pink bow on it and pink nail polish on his claws?"

Xander glanced up at Ron with a grin.  "Yep."

Ron blinked at him with an odd expression.  "Can I see the picture?"


1:30 DADA

"Welcome all," Professor Lupin called as he walked into class behind the last of the students.  "I'd like everyone to get settled in for the first part of the class," he continued as he set some books on his desk and looked over the combined third year Gryffindors and Slytherins.  "First I want to go over a few dark creatures for you to follow up with for the next class and then we'll have some hands-on experience."  He gave them all a wicked grin and Xander snorted, knowing what was coming.  He wondered idly what his boggart was going to be.  He hoped it wasn't something completely unexplainable.

"What does he mean by hands-on experience?" Ron muttered to Xander in a worried tone as they settled into their seats.  Hermione shushed him quietly.

"I'm sure it won't be anything dangerous, Ron," she said.

Xander just shrugged and pulled out some quill and parchment.  Mentally, he noted that he needed to get some pens and notebook paper and why the hell hadn't he thought of that before he came to Hogwarts?

"Now as this is the first class, I know most everyone has not yet read the first chapter but I want to find out what you may know already.  So tell me, how does one defend against or kill a vampire?"

Xander could hardly believe it!  The teacher was asking a question he could answer without appearing like a nut case!  He raised his hand, getting an odd look from Hermione, who also had her hand raised, and Ron, who couldn't remember the last time Xander had raised his hand to answer a question in class.

"Mr. Harris," the professor called out with a smile and a nod.

"Start with a wooden stake to the heart as that works best but I know certain sunshine spells will also bring about dustage."  Xander hadn't even realized his accent was slipping a bit as he tried to remember all the way to kill a vamp.  "Holy Water causes intense pain and, in large amounts, will also dust a vamp.  I suggest a super-soaker personally if you have enough holy water.  Decapitation with an ax or sword works wonders, especially with runic or named weapons.  Flamethrowers and rocket launchers are also proven ways to dust a vamp and are much more fun if not as bystander friendly."

Professor Lupin just blinked as Xander happily continued listing various fun and interesting ways to dust vampires as the students around him stared.

"Ah, yes, Mr. Harris, thank you," the teacher said, interrupting Xander's increasingly descriptive reply.  "Ten points to Gryffindor for your thorough answer."

Xander beamed.  On either side of him, Ron and Hermione looked at him oddly before sharing a worried glance behind his back.  Across the room, Malfoy leaned back and studied the increasing puzzle that was the Boy Who Lived.

The form was spinning crazily as Xander stepped forward ready to deal with the dementor.  But the thing that coalesced was not a dementor, not anything that looked very dangerous at all.  It was just a man, tall and broad, with short, brown hair.  Slowly, the man raised his head and the class gasped.  The man was almost angelically beautiful but the expression on his face was as dark as any they had ever seen.  Cruel brown eyes stared straight at Xander and a dark, sneering smile on his lips.

"Well well well," the man's smooth voice crawled across the room.  "The White Knight himself."  Sarcastic brows rose just a bit.  "The slayer let you off your leash?"

Xander froze for a moment, his hand clenched around his wand.  "Angelus," he practically hissed as his hand automatically changed its grip, holding his wand like a stake.  In his shock at seeing the demon, he'd completely forgotten that this wasn't the real vampire; completely forgotten that this wasn't his own world with its dangers.  He forgot everything around him except for the grinning demon before him.  Turning had always been his greatest fear, he realized, and Angelus had come closer than any other vampire at making that happen.

The vampire stepped forward with a dark laugh.  His face morphed to show his demon's glee and his eyes turned dark, gleaming gold.  Behind him, Xander vaguely registered his classmates' screams of fright and the movement of bodies away from him. 

"I always thought you'd make the perfect Childe, Alexander."

Xander moved into a fighting stance, his wand clutched like a stake in one hand.  "I said it before.  You're going to die and I'm going to be there," he ground out.

Angelus bared his teeth, rage contorting his features and Xander tensed.  Before he could move, however, Professor Lupin was between them, pointing his wand and screaming out "Riddikulus!"

Xander froze for a long moment as the professor pushed the boggart back into the wardrobe it has come out of.  After the dark creature was safely locked in, Lupin turned and stared at a rather sheepish-looking Xander who tried to hide his wand sans stake behind his back.

" may have read a bit ahead and well...that Scourge of Europe guy was really scary."  Lupin's eyebrow rose just slightly as Xander glanced behind him at his classmates, who looked back at him with gazes that may have questioned his sanity.  "I mean really scary.  Totally.  Scary." Xander nodded towards his classmates. 

No one nodded back.

"Why don't you stay behind, Mr. Harris?" Professor Lupin said quietly.  "The rest of you can go."

Xander closed his eyes and wondered when this day was going to end.


3:30 Care of Magical Creatures

Xander now understood Harry's fascination with flight. Oh, he had Harry's memories of being on a broom, his first, crazy flight and the subsequent Quidditch thrills.  But flying on Buckbeak was amazing!

The hippogriff had loved him, of course, just like every other demonic (or maybe just non-human) animal he'd come across.  The magical beast had barely given him time to do the bow and wait thing before Buckbeak was crooning and nuzzling Xander's hair.  The third-year Gryffindor had grimaced privately but dutifully scratched just behind one feathered ear and earned a blissful croon in response. 

He'd meant to avoid the whole flying thing all together, trying to avoid Malfoy's hissy fit, but Hagrid had plopped him onto Buckbeak's back much quicker than Xander had anticipated and then they were flying. 

Xander loved it!  He'd even screamed happily as the hippogriff had skimmed the blue waters of the huge lake.  He hoped no one saw him hold out his arms and scream at the top of his lungs, "I'm the king of the world!"  He'd be marked as a dark lord for sure.

He heard Hagrid's loud whistle and tightened his legs as Buckbeak veered back towards the forest to make an easy landing and Xander was beaming excitedly as they trotted to a stop before the huge teacher.  He was so happy and so excited, however, that he completely forgot about Malfoy's hissy until he hear Buckbeak's outraged scream. 

Maybe it was the adrenalin or the excitement or the complete annoyance that blossomed when he realized what had happened, but when Xander shouted out, "ACCIO Malfoy!" he considered that he'd probably used too much power as he had to step out of the way as the boy went flying past him and straight into the congregated Slytherins.

"Whoops," he noted as Malfoy and three or four other students struggled to their feet, glaring hotly at him.  Draco, himself, was screaming bloody murder.

"That beast is *dangerous*!" he shouted angrily at Hagrid as the teacher tried to calm the magical animal.  "It attacked me!  It needs to be put down!  I'm going to tell my father!"

"Oh hey!"  Xander called out loudly to the retreating Slytherins.  "So I saved your life then?"

Draco whirled on him and glared.  "What are you talking about, Harris?"

Xander just motioned back to Buckbeak.  "If that's a dangerous animal who attacked you and I accioed you out of his way, then I saved your life.  I guess that's called a life debt, isn't it?" he asked curiously.  He glanced over at a worried Hermione.  "Those are pretty big, aren't they, Hermione?"

"They certainly are," she said firmly.  "They can only be repaid by saving your life in return or a lifetime's service."

"Wow!" Xander said with a big grin.  "That's cool!  Draco owes me a life debt!"

"I most certainly do NOT owe Harris a life debt!" Malfoy snapped back.  "I wasn't in enough danger to invoke that!"

"Then, if you weren't in any danger from Buckbeak, I guess I used a spell on you during class then for no reason.  IF Buckbeak isn't a danger, that is." 

Xander's smile became less jovial and more feral as he leaned forward and lowered his voice.  "Those are you choices, Malfoy.  You either invoked a life debt when I saved you from blundering up to a dangerous magical creature and getting mauled or there was no danger at all and I used magic against you." Xander spread his hands expansively.  "Why I might even get a detention from Hagrid over that.  Or...maybe even points lost.  You know I got ten points in DADA today for my knowledge of vampires."  The youth suddenly beamed brightly as he leaned even closer to the blond Slytherin.  "By the way, how's your Uncle William?"

Draco visibly flinched and then snarled.  He clenched his fists at his side and then turned towards a worried and somewhat confused looking Hagrid.

"Harris used a spell on me during class, *Professor*" Malfoy ground out, making the man's title sound like a curse.  "I think he needs a detention *and* some points taken off!"

Hagrid looked very surprised, glancing from Malfoy to Xander.  "But Xander just saved...."

"I admit it, Hagrid.  I used a spell on Malfoy.  It was quite mean of me and even though it was quite entertaining, I deserve a detention.  And maybe some points too," he finished in a hangdog tone as he glanced sideways at the frothing Malfoy beside him.

"*Definitely* some points," Draco stated flatly, "and I think your detention should be with Professor Snape!"

"I don't think that's quite...." Hagrid started again but Xander interrupted again with a glare at Draco.

"I don't think Snape is necessary here," he protested hotly.  "A detention with Hagrid would be *quite* enough.  Hagrid gives a really mean detention or don't you remember the Forbidden Forest?" the boy continued as Draco shuddered in remembrance.  "I mean I'm giving up a life debt here, Malfoy," he seethed quietly.  "The least you could do is not sic Snape on me!"

Draco crossed his arms with a smirk.  "It's Snape or nothing."

"Then no points lost!" Xander replied with a growl as he stepped closer to Malfoy.  "A detention with Hagrid and ten points or one detention with Snape.  That is the last offer.  Otherwise, Life Debt City is your next destination!" 

Draco was torn.  On one hand, points lost to the Gryffindorks.  On the other, Harris tormented by Snape.  Choices, choices.

"Very well," Draco said as he turned to a very confused teacher and his class.  "Harris gets a dentition with you with ten points lost for using a spell on me in class and I don't say that *thing* over there is a dangerous beast that needs to be put down."

"All right!" Xander said with a hard slap on the back for an unsuspecting Draco, who stumbled slightly.  "Way to go, Drakster!  All right, professor?" Xander asked as he turned to Hagrid.  "A detention and ten points lost for me using a spell on the Drakster here?"

Hagrid nodded slowly, still confused but happy the matter has been solved.  Draco just glared at his rival.

"Don't ever touch me again, Harris, and my name is *not* Drakster!"

With that, the boy stormed back to his wide-eyed clutch of Slytherin as Xander grinned to himself and made his way back to the Gryffindors.

"What was all that, Xander?" Hermione demanded.  "And where did you learn that spell you used on Malfoy?"

Ron was also upset.  "You just lost us ten points and got a detention for saving that prat's life!"

"Well, there's a long story there and I'm sure you don't want to interrupt class so I can tell it to you, do you?"  Hermione opened her mouth to reply but Xander turned back to Hagrid.  "So what can you tell us about hippogriffs, Professor?"

Hagrid blinked and slowly restarted his lecture while the class stayed very far away from the still restless Hippogriff.  Hermione just glared at Xander with a narrow gaze that promised much pain and lecturing later.


6-7 Dinner

Xander poked at the chicken on his plate and tried to pay attention to Hermione's rant.  This had been a very strange day and considering he was a Scooby and that was saying something.  The worst had been trying to convince Lupin that the reason Angelus, the Scourge of Europe, was his worst fear because he'd read too many vampire thrillers while he stayed in Diagon Alley.  The professor hadn't looked convinced but really, what other reason could there be?  If Xander really *had* run into Angelus, chances were the boy would not be here today to talk about it.

That didn't stop Professor Lupin asking Xander to come to the Headmaster's office for a 'chat' after dinner though.  The man had looked at him *very* strangely when he had asked Xander why the boggart Angelus had called him the White Knight.

And then the negotiation with Malfoy during Creatures class.  Xander growled to himself and nodded when Hermione's current rant ended with a question-like tone.  She continued in a smugger, less rant-like voice so he must have answered correctly.  He poked his broccoli.

Flying Buckbeak had been so amazing but then Malfoy had to go and throw his damn fit and try and have the hippogriff killed just because he couldn't be bothered to be *polite*.  Xander had tried to explain what would have happened but Hermione and Ron and most of the Gryffindor didn't quite understand and were grumpy over the loss of points.

Xander glared across the hall at Malfoy who caught his eye and just smirked back.

"Xander are you listening to me?" Hermione demanded and Xander turned to her with a bewildered gaze and a racing mind.  She couldn't find out he wasn't paying attention.

"Malfoy was making faces at me," he said plaintively and Hermione just huffed before she turned a glare at the smirking Slytherin.

"Just ignore him, Xander," she advised as she turned back to her plate.  "He's just a big prat."

"I still don't understand why you didn't claim a life debt, mate," Ron stated as he flattened his broccoli.  "You could have led him around by the nose."

Xander sighed and then glanced up at Professor Snape, who was looming at the Slytherin end of the teacher's table.  If only.

"Life Debts don't work like that, Ron," he said and Hermione looked at him in surprise. 

"How do you know that, Xander?" she asked inquisitively.  Xander looked a little chagrinned at having provoked his friend's curiosity.

"I found out someone owed my father a Life Debt and I just wondered what it entailed," he replied casually, waving his hand as if it didn't mean anything.  "So I looked it up over the summer."

His bushy-haired friend once again looked surprised, this time at the thought of Xander Harris researching voluntarily.  Hermione's expression looked quite similar to one Willow used to wear in similar circumstances. 

"Anyway," he continued before she could ask more questions, "I really didn't save his life so the Life magic wouldn't have taken.  Hagrid would have gotten to him in time."  Xander smirked down at his plate as he made a volcano mountain out of his second helping of potatoes.  "Malfoy was just too mad to think straight about it or I'd have never been able to pull that one off."

"Then what was all that about?  The Life Debt and the detention?" Ron demanded.  "And the points?"

Xander sighed as he glared across the room at Malfoy again.  "If Draco had been hurt then his father would have been pissed...."

"He'd have been pissed?" Ron asked in a confused tone.  "What's Mr. Malfoy being drunk got to do with it?"

"Does he even drink?" Hermione added her question.

Xander looked confused as well until he realized what he said.

"No, sorry, he'd have been really mad not drunk.  Pissed off means really mad in America."

"How would you know that?" the redhead asked.  "I mean if they say it in America...."

"Ron, do you want the explanation or not?" Xander asked in exasperation.  "I have another potato mountain to build here," he noted, gesturing at his very messy plate.

"Right, right, sorry," Ron muttered and Hermione huffed again. 

"Get on with it Xander," she stated firmly.

"ANYway, Mr. Malfoy would have been really...angry...and since Malfoy Senior has the ear of the Fudgecicle, the Minister would have put out a warrant for Buckbeak's death as a 'dangerous magical creature'.  A hippogriff attacking a student would have been grounds for its termination.  And I didn't want that to happen so...points and a detention." 

"That's...quite logical, actually," Hermione stated after a thoughtful silence.  "How did you come up with it, Xander?"

"Hey!  I can be logical," the boy replied indignantly.

Hermione gave him a skeptical look.  Ron just snorted.

"You can't know that would have happened!" Ron said, flattening his broccoli some more and wishing it was Malfoy's head.  "I think we lost points for nothing."

"It would have happened," Xander said in a firm tone, silently grateful and thinking he'd trade points away from his House to avoid a detention with Snape any day, "and Hagrid would have been devastated.  It's just better this way."

Hermione and Ron were silent for the moment and Xander started to decimate his potato mountain, conveniently covered with plenty of gravy, one forkful at a time.

"So, what was all that in DADA?" Hermione asked after Xander's mouth was full.  "With the vampire knowledge and the boggart?  And where did you learn that spell you hit Malfoy with in Hagrid's class?"

Xander looked at her, his cheeks full of potatoes and gravy, and the girl laughed.  "Xander, you look like a chipmunk," she giggled.

"Fanks alof!" he replied, making sure to open his mouth wide.  Hermione 'ewwwwwed' loudly and Xander gave Ron a grin as he finished swallowing his mouthful of potatoes.  "Ha, I made her 'ewww'!"

"Good on you, mate!" Ron replied happily, contemplating what he could do to make Hermione 'ewww'.

"Xander, about DADA," Hermione began again but Xander cut her off with a quick wave. 

"Actually, I have to go see Dumbledore and Professor Lupin about that after dinner," Xander said hastily.  "Will you two go with me to the Tower?  I forgot something and I need you and Hermione to come with me to get it."

"What?  Why do you need us?" Ron asked as he eyed the desserts that just popped up on the table. 

"Ron," Xander said, his tone lowering and his eyes becoming very serious.  "I really need you and Hermione to come with me to the Tower and then to the Headmaster's office.  It's important."  He looked from Hermione to Ron.  Both looked concerned and wary.  "Please.  It's very important."

"Really, mate?" Ron asked in a soft tone and Xander nodded.  "All right then, let's go."


"Coming, Xander," she said with a nod as she stood.

"All right, let's go have a chat with Dumbledore."

"That's *Professor* Dumbledore!" Hermione noted primly.