Snape scowled at the visitors; the Watchers’ Council had invaded their Summer peace, and the Heads of House and the all professors had been recalled to deal with them. The theory was that these Americans had abilities that would help in the war against Voldemort and his Death Eaters, but Snape had his doubts. None of them, not one of them had any capabilities in wanded magic, but instead relied upon a form of Earth magic that was not even whispered about amongst the Wizarding community.
Dumbledore hadn’t even discussed this visit with the Ministry, but had simply and quietly invited these … not Muggles precisely, but they certainly weren’t Wizarding folk, either. The Slayers (and both of the oldest Slayers had come) were possibly magical creatures, Snape wasn’t quite sure, while most of the remaining visitors used some variant of their Earth magic. Yes, all except one could be classified as something other than Muggle. That Watcher though, Harris, he of the green-and-brown eyes, and the tendency to growl at those that angered him, and the sudden head tilts when something caught his attention.
Harris, the predator.
Harris, the very scary Muggle.
Snape stalked down the halls, wondering how much longer he was going to have to put up with these intruders. Certainly it was a good idea to make connections with the new version of the Watchers’ Council, but why did they have to come here to the school? Why did they have to put up with all these chaotic, loud children masquerading as serious adults?
“You know, I know a vampire that broods nearly as much as you,” an amused voice broke into his musings.
“Watcher Harris,” Snape sneered. “May I help you?”
The dark-haired Watcher grimaced as he pushed off from the wall. “You know, Buffy … er, Slayer Summers, I guess,” he smirked, “might just do the blonde thing, and take you at your word right when you least want her to, so you really probably shouldn’t do that. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up at the local store, picking up chocolate, ice cream, and stuff you really don’t want to think about.”
“Fine,” Snape growled. “What do you want, Harris?”
Xander smirked again, and prowled forward. He waited until he was almost touching the wizard before speaking. “Well, what I want is something for another conversation, hopefully very soon. What I thought might be helpful, though, was to tell you to lighten up. See, someone like you becomes a challenge to a lot of my people. They poke and tease until they get you to break, and – believe me – tougher men than you have broken.”
Snape snorted. “I think I shall take leave to doubt that.” He cocked his head thoughtfully. “So what is it that you wanted?” he asked, regretting his curiosity almost immediately.
Xander leaned forward so that his lips almost touched Snape’s. “You,” he whispered.
Snape snarled as he threw another hex at the laughing man. Like all the rest, it flew past the dodging man and impacted harmlessly on the floor. Part of him wanted to proclaim that it just wasn’t fair, but this was a Muggle, someone devoid of magic, and if they had developed other skills to help them fight a wizard, then that was probably a very good thing.
Another part of him thought it was like watching some kind of dance; Xander twisted and pivoted, dashed and leapt, and was everywhere but where he had been when each curse had left Severus’ wand. His athleticism was amazing, as was his stamina, and it was a shock when his wand hand was grabbed in an iron grasp and turned away. Before he could draw breath to protest, a strong arm wrapped around his waist to pull him close, and surprise, instinct, or both caused him to grab at Xander’s bicep so that they stood in a parody of a waltzing couple.
They stood, chest to chest, Xander grinning and panting slightly, and Snape staring into those odd, variegated eyes. Green and brown eyes that never failed to startle crinkled at the edge as Xander smirked and tilted his head.
“So do I get my prize now?” Xander asked huskily.
Snape swallowed to clear a suddenly dry mouth. “What … what did you want as your prize?” He regretted that question immediately when the younger man chuckled and dropped his eyes to pale lips.
“This,” Xander murmured, and took Snape’s lips in a hard kiss, pulling him even closer.
Snape clenched his hand around solid muscle, and fell into the kiss. It mimicked everything about the man holding him; hot, hard, and slightly feral. He knew Xander wasn’t a werewolf, but no one had fully explained what had happened to change him from a one-eyed carpenter to the half-wild Watcher who served the elite Slayers of the Council. Magic, they had said, but it was no magic he knew of. He opened his mouth to Xander’s insistent tongue, and all thought fled.
“It wouldn’t actually be that bad,” the slightly fey redhead offered.
Snape turned to scowl at the foreign witch. “What, pray tell, wouldn’t be too bad?” he asked, and again decided he really should stop talking to these people; he always said precisely the wrong thing.
“Xander,” Willow smiled.
Snape drew in a sudden breath, memories of a hard body pressed tight, a hot mouth opening his own, and drowning in sensation. “What is he?” he demanded.
“Xander?” Willow asked, eyes wide. “Human, of course. Uh, well, he is human, it’s just that, well, he got possessed a couple of times, then there was also the swim team thing, and Dracula thralled him, so when we did the big thing to get his eye back, Giles says that all the marks on his aura reacted, so it’s almost like he’s a primal/soldier/slightly-fishy/nearly-dhampyr kind of thing. But still human,” she added earnestly.
Snape glared at the girl. “How in Merlin’s name did the boy ever survive?”
Willow shrugged, smiling. “Giles thinks the Hellmouth liked him.”
“The Hellmouth…” Snape felt like giving up.
“Well, it would explain how he also survived being hit by a troll hammer and me trying to end the world,” Willow shrugged.
“The Hellmouth is not sentient,” Snape argued, as if to a small child.
Willow blinked. “And?”
Snape did actually give up at that point, and stalked off.
“He comes with a very good reputation,” Willow called after him.
He had been hiding, but he realised his attempt had failed when he felt rough fingertips trail up the side of his neck. The hand moved further up to tangle in his hair while his hunter moved closer to press his body up against Snape, and wrap his arm around his waist.
“Missing me?” Xander whispered in his ear.
“Trying to,” Snape admitted sourly.
“Someone would think you didn’t want me to pursue you,” Xander murmured into the side of Snape’s neck.
Snape sternly suppressed a shudder. “Someone would be right.”
“Truly?” Xander rumbled before biting Snape’s neck gently.
Snape couldn’t suppress his soft gasp, and tried desperately not to melt back into the man holding him. He ground his teeth. “I am not interested in a relationship,” he decided.
Xander spun him in his arms, and pushed him into the wall. “You do not think it’s wise to have a relationship,” Xander corrected. “You think it’s dangerous to have a relationship, that anyone joined to you would automatically become a target for him, let alone being a symbol for derision from the masses. What you forget is that I’ve had a target painted on my back since I was sixteen years old, and I don’t care about the masses. My family knows and approves, and that is all I care about.”
“He would kill you,” Snape argued. “No, he would torture you endlessly, doing the worst he could think of before allowing the mercy of death.”
“So we don’t make it public,” Xander countered immediately. “I am capable of discretion, you know,” he added with a half-smile.
Snape tried to hold on to his arguments, his reasons to avoid this dark and vital man of the varicoloured eyes. But he recalled all the times Xander had approached him, and how it was never with an audience; how he’d already stood against Death Eaters, and was earning a fearsome reputation as a killer of their kind. Warded by the Red Witch, guarded by Slayers, and never unarmed, Xander was becoming someone only the highest ranking Death Eaters even contemplated meeting, lest they end in bloody pieces that not even their wands could rectify. He did not fight fair, but instead aimed for their wands with his first blow. Snape had a sudden image of the man before him facing Bellatrix, both almost darkly beautiful, and neither sane in the strictest sense, and shuddered.
Xander smirked, and pressed harder against him. “Thinking about me?” he rumbled into Snape’s ear.
“Yes,” Snape gasped. He closed his eyes, and gritted his teeth. It would be so easy to just…
“Give in,” Xander insisted.
“Yes,” Snape sighed, and opened his mouth to Xander’s sudden, insistent kiss. He lifted a hand to tangle in dark chestnut hair, and surrendered to the younger man.
When he woke the next morning, half-covered by the hard-bodied man, he smiled to realise there was now one less weight in his life.