Maybe Not So Obvious
by Susan Anthony
A sequel of sorts of Obvious Only To A Scooby
Maybe Not So Obvious
Harry studied his black shoes intently. They were new, bought strictly for the 'Glad You're Dead, Voldemort' celebration the Scoobies were throwing in the Hogwarts Great Hall. Hermione had made certain he bought nice shoes - boots really, Wizarding boots - to go along with his new Wizarding robes, new red and gold robes that Hermione and Ron had picked out for him.
He'd really wanted the cool purple and red robes that Fred and George suggested but Hermione and Ron had insisted on the red and gold monstrosity he was currently wearing with the gold embroidered phoenix on his back. Xander, who had wandered along with them to see Diagon Alley, had tried to defend Harry's choice but Hermione wouldn't even look in his direction.
So Xander had bought the robes - black pants, dark purple tunic and deep red over-robes with a pair of fighting dragons on the back stitched in a lovely orange thread that shimmered as the dragons wrestled. The American wore them tonight with an air of smug satisfaction. Harry noted that Xander made sure to stand close to Hermione whenever he could. He'd been watching Xander's passive aggressive robe assault on Hermione all evening with a smirk he carefully hid from his best friends.
Now though, Xander was making his colorful way to Harry's side and Harry couldn't help but study his shoes. Boots. Whatever.
Obviously, it was time for the Confrontation.
"Harry," Xander greeted as he came to a halt beside the younger man.
"Xander," Harry replied with a sigh.
"I'm very disappointed in you," the American's tone was sadly wistful.
Harry sighed again and studied his fingernails. They were clean and manicured, another horror that his so-called friends - mostly Hermione, Ron was laughing too hard - had inflicted upon him before the celebration. He wasn't even going to think about that pedicure.
"When we laid out that plan, it was very straightforward," Xander stated. His voice held an edge of pain. "You said you agreed with it. It would have worked beautifully."
"I know, Xander, and I'm sorry." Harry risked a glance up at his new friend and then looked away from Xander's sad, brown eye.
"We even practiced!" the older man practically wailed.
"You know how plans can change in the heat of battle...." Harry began. He'd been rehearsing what to say to his distraught friend ever since he'd realized that he was alive and Voldemort wasn't.
"Harrrrrry," Xander whined heavily, "I really wanted to see you blow up the Dork Lord with the rocket launcher! I've never seen a Dark Wizard blown up before."
"It just wasn't going to work, he was too close." Harry's tone was even as he turned back to his friend only to be caught up in Xander's well-practiced pout. Harry shuddered and quickly looked away. "Besides, Ron did have a point. Blowing up a Dark Wizard with a muggle rocket launcher was just asking for trouble. It wasn't...magical enough to kill Voldemort!"
"And dropping a house on him was?" Xander demanded.
"It was a shack!" Harry insisted. "I dropped the Shrieking Shack on him. And it did the job didn't it?"
Xander pouted some more. "I suppose," he said with a dejected sigh. "Dropping houses on witches is supposed to work really well but I never tried it."
"No, you just dropped a school on an ascended demon," said a tart voice as Xander's redheaded friend, Willow, joined the conversation. She smiled at Harry before she turned to Xander.
Xander looked affronted at her observation. "*I* didn't drop the school on the mayor," he pointed out. "Buffy was the one who got to blow him up. *And* she got to shoot the Judge. Is it so bad to want to live vicariously through Harry?"
"Yes! Leave the poor guy alone about dropping a house on Moldewort! He squished the guy so what else can we ask for?"
"It was a shack," Harry corrected quietly and Willow smiled at him.
"Yes, that shrieking shacky thing," she agreed with a happy nod.
"And it was Voldemort," Hermione stated rather stiffly as she joined Harry. She smiled briefly at Willow before she narrowed her eyes at Xander who held out his arms and beamed at her.
"What do you think, Hermy?" he asked as he modeled his new robes. "You know I bought them especially for this party." Xander grinned at her scowl.
"That's Miss Granger to you, Mr. Harris, not Hermy!" the brown haired witch stated flatly.
"And that's Boss, to you, Miss Granger," Xander replied, his impish grin morphing into a wicked smile.
Hermione blinked and then paled.
Harry looked confused.
"Boss?" he asked.
"Yep," Xander replied as he sent a meaningful look Willow's way as she opened her mouth. "Miss Granger, here, has been accepted into employment with the International Watcher's Council and Giles has graciously assigned her to my team." He beamed at Hermione as he put his arm over her shoulders. "Part of the employment orientation is to get to know the slayers and what better way that to track them down in their home territories?" He gave Harry a nod. "Yep, we're heading out to outer Mongolia next week, just me and Hermy to track down whatever slayers we can find."
"What?" Hermione shrieked as she shoved Xander's arm off her shoulders. "I am *not* going to Mongolia looking for slayers," she informed him flatly, her arms crossed and her eyes flashing.
"You aren't?" Xander asked, looking a little confused. "But Giles said...."
"Well, we'll just see about that!" Hermione replied in a frosty tone before she stomped off into the crowd, leaving Xander grinning behind her. At least he grinned until he met Willow's gaze.
"Xander, I can't believe you told her that!" she said as she shook her head. She looked quite put out with her best friend but Xander could see the amusement in her eyes. She hadn't interrupted him, after all. "You know Hermione has been assigned to my team."
Xander gave his friend a horrified look. "What? Really? But...Mongolia?"
Willow crossed her arms and tapped her foot meaningfully. The young man shrugged and gave Harry a smirk.
"I can't help it, Willow," he said. "Hermione is so fun to annoy. It's like Cordelia all over again except without the fashion tips." His best friend gave him a narrow look. "And without the closets," he hurried to add.
"So," Harry began after Willow and Xander shared a thoughtful look for a few moments. "Hermione is going to work for your group?" He idly watched his best friend stomp over to the unsuspecting head of the Watcher's Council.
"Yep, and I had the pleasure of playing the first official IWC prank on her," Xander replied with a smirk.
"But I didn't think Hermione...er, that is," Harry fumbled with his words as he blushed a bit. Willow and Xander just raised their eyebrows and waited. Harry bit his lip for a moment before he continued. "Hermione didn't really seem to like the Watcher's Council very much. I don't understand why she'd want to work for them."
Willow and Xander shared a smirk before Willow reached out and patted his arm.
"It's very simple, Harry," she remarked as they watched Hermione yelling at Giles with her hands on her hips.
"We know something she doesn't know," Xander continued.
"We know a *lot* of things she doesn't," the red-head added.
"And to find out what that is, she agreed to work with us," Xander finished.
"So, Hermione signed on to be a Watcher," Harry said as he picked up a glass of something bubbling from a passing floating tray. "And now she's yelling at her future boss."
"Yep," Xander replied as they watched Giles reply to something Hermione had said and the girl's hands fell to her sides. She stiffened as Giles gently patted her shoulder before she turned and glared across the hall at Xander.
"And that, lady and gentleman, is my queue to get lost," the man said as he gave a mocking half-bow to the steaming young woman across the room. "Later."
Xander disappeared into the crowd, leaving Harry to take a large drink of the fruity liquid in his glass.
"Five galleons says she catches him before an hour," he said as he watched his best female friend stalk across the hall.
Willow laughed. "I'll take that bet. Xander has grown up avoiding girls he's pranked. He's grown even more skilled since he started pranking slayers."
Harry just smiled as he watched Hermione stalk by. "Are there any other employment opportunities at the International Watcher's Council?"
Willow beamed at him.