The following morning Xander woke up at the most ungodly hour of 6am. He hadn't slept in a real bed in over six months and he wanted to have a lie in. Unfortunately his alarm clock seemed to have other ideas. He got up though and found a sleepy Harry and Hermione wandering down the hallway.
"Ok, there is only one bathroom in this joint so-"
"Magical castle Xander." Joyce said as she appeared next to him causing him to jump. "There are as many bathrooms as are necessary."
As she spoke the bathroom door tripled and each one had a name on it for the three of them.
"Aw man! I am not cleaning all three of those!" Xander whined.
"Don't worry, the castle has its own cleaning facilities." Joyce assured him.
"Hermione, come to me in the living room when you are done and I'll do your hair for you." Joyce said as she wandered off down the hallway.
They were soon seated in the living room as the two kids went through their books and made sure they were set for the day.
"We'll head to the Great Hall for breakfast." Joyce informed them. "Xander needs to get into your usual routine. Minerva might want to see us as- speak of the devil!" Joyce said as a knock on the front door interrupted her.
Xander headed over and opened the door to find Minerva standing outside. It was an unusual sight as the view out the door was of a stone hallway, but the front windows showed the first light of the day peeking over the mountains on the horizon.
Xander stood to the side offering the standard Sunnydale invitation as Minerva stepped over the threshold.
"You must be quite the powerful wizard to perform transfigurations of this magnitude." Minerva said awestruck.
"Me? No, I'm just a carpenter. Joyce did this." Xander said.
Minerva looked at Joyce in surprise.
"I am a magical building." Joyce smirked.
"None of our other rooms have changed before." Minerva noted.
"Mainly because I don't interact with the residents." Joyce explained.
"I see." Minerva said as she sat in one of the free armchairs. "Breakfast will begin shortly, will you be attending?"
"Yes, Xander needs to get used to Harry's routine, we don't want to disrupt his life too much." Joyce said.
"I need to make an announcement regarding Albus leaving, but I am unsure how to proceed." Minerva said revealing her true reason for visiting.
"Just tell them he's taking a sabbatical to follow up some research." Joyce shrugged.
"Harry, where's your comb? Or brush?" Xander asked the scruffy haired boy.
"I don't have one." Harry shrugged.
Xander started to growl low in his throat. "Let me guess, your uncle and aunt never bought you one?"
"No sir." Harry said ashamedly.
"I'm just Xander, Harry."
"Here Xander, I've finished Hermione's hair." Joyce said tossing the brush to Xander.
"Lice?" Xander asked.
"Magic!" Joyce grinned.
Xander had Harry between his knees and was brushing his hair whilst Minerva and Hermione quizzed Joyce on the castle and herself.
"Damn Harry, you have the most stubborn hair ever!" Xander chuckled.
"Maybe a haircut would be a help, or a trim. I noticed Hermione has some split ends." Joyce offered.
Harry visibly shrank into himself at Joyce's suggestion.
"Harry, what's wrong?" Xander asked warily, it hurt to see the boy so jittery, like a wild animal cornered.
"Will I have to be bald?" He asked timidly.
"They shaved you bald?" Hermione asked in horror. She had been admiring her hair in a mirror; it looked so good, nowhere near as bushy and in a neat ponytail.
"Mostly. It grew back by morning though." Harry said earnestly. He didn't want to get in trouble with the Dursleys because they found out he had blabbed.
"Really!" Minerva asked shocked. "Harry, come here and bring your brush for me." She ordered gently.
With a gentle push from Xander, Harry shuffled over and relinquished his brush.
After a few minutes careful brushing and examination by Minerva, she sat back and let out a huge breath.
"Well, I know the problem… not really a problem but it is something we must address. I don't want to say anything at the moment but I will be contacting someone to come and meet with Harry as soon as possible. For now just do your best dear." She told the young boy kindly.
The hall fell silent as they entered. All eyes focused on Xander. Rumours had been flying of the one-eyed man who had ripped a troll to pieces with his bare hands and nearly did the same to two students.
Being teenagers… and humans… they of course believed the outlandish tales.
Minerva quickly strode to the front of the Staff Table with the other four hot on her heels. They had discussed how they would do this earlier in Xander's room.
"If I could have your attention please, for a moment." She requested redundantly as every face was locked on their arrival. "I have a few announcements to make.
"Firstly, the gentleman you see next to me is Mr. Xander Harris. He is Mr. Potter's new guardian and bodyguard.
"Secondly, he along with Mrs. Summers will be the new Head of Security." She said indicating Joyce.
"Finally, Professor Dumbledore has taken a short sabbatical and will return shortly, I am in charge until then. This should have no bearing on your classes.
"Please continue with your breakfast, and yes, my classes will continue as normal." With that, Minerva took her seat at the head of the staff table where she was instantly bombarded by questions from the staff, as Xander and Joyce followed Harry and Hermione to their seats at their table.
Xander and Joyce found themselves fielding as many questions as Harry and Hermione were over the troll. The Gryffindor students were all eager to hear more about their fight and to find out more about Xander and Joyce.
One student clearly wasn't happy. "I can't believe you chose her over me." Ron said scathingly.
Harry was a little taken aback at the hostility coming from his friend. "But Hermione was in trouble! She needed our help."
"So she's more important than me?" Ron asked incredulously.
"You didn't need help. The troll was in the bathroom! So was Hermione."
"Why didn't you help Harry and Hermione?" Xander asked with a frown.
"There was a bloody big troll there!" Ron said exasperatedly. "You don't mess with trolls."
"I thought courage was a Gryffindor trait?" Xander asked Hermione, it was something that popped up this morning when he asked what was meant by 'sorting' yesterday and Joyce was explaining the different houses.
"Courage and chivalry." She confirmed.
"Chivalry? Right, so leaving a girl to handle a troll on her own is chivalrous." Xander scoffed.
Ron meanwhile while was turning red.
"He actually shows more Slytherin traits." Joyce noted. "He has a highly developed sense of self-preservation and he is a pure-blood."
Ron had suddenly gone pale as he realised where this was headed. "What about them?" Ron said indicating the twins. "They always look out for themselves!"
Ron clearly wasn't doing himself any favours as the twins looked like they had a whole bunch of experimental pranks they wanted their brother to test for them.
"Ah yes, those two cause a fair amount of havoc in Hogwarts. But, as much as they aren't Gryffindors, they definitely aren't Slytherins. Hermione?" Joyce asked the young girl.
"Intelligence and wit, Ravenclaw. They do like their pranks." Hermione shrugged.
"More than that, they are highly intelligent and are being wasted in Gryffindor." Joyce added.
"Can I ask if I am in the right house?" Percy enquired.
"You are good here or in Hufflepuff as you work very hard." Joyce told him.
Xander could see Joyce was about to get dragged into determining the appropriate houses of all the current Gryffindors. "Ok, enough. If you want to be resorted then let us know and we'll have a discussion with that Hat." He said firmly.
Xander was quite the imposing figure with his eye patch. Coupled with his mysterious background and he easily had command of the students. It was something he had cultivated during his time at the Slayer Academy… great for keeping super-powered teenage girls in check.
Breakfast came to an end and the students started heading off to class. Xander tried to follow Harry discreetly at a distance but both he and Hermione were determined to include him so he was introduced to the rest of the class.
Fortunately their first lesson was Transfiguration. Xander was no stranger to objects being turned into something else, or living beings. Amy had spent several years as a rat, Buffy a few hours, Giles a day or so as a demon and Dawn used to be blob of energy.
But he did find it amusing how excited half the kids were to know it could be done. It was even more amusing that they were excited about turning a matchstick into a needle… when would they ever need to do that? He highly doubted these people even used matches, so why would they even find them lying around… where did Minerva get them for that matter! Xander was getting a headache and it was only 9 in the morning.
Whilst the class was practicing that, Xander decided to ask a few questions.
"Professor how does this work? What is it about the wand movements and words that causes the change?"
"A perceptive question Mr. Harris." Minerva smiled; she very much appreciated the respect he showed through use of her title. "The combination of words and movements help shape and utilise the flow of magic from the witch or wizard."
"So the words and movements don't power the spell, just control it?"
"Yes, in the students later years at Hogwarts, they will learn how spells are formed. They will also learn to make use of wandless and non-verbal magic." Minerva agreed.
"So, these early lessons with words and movements are like… training wheels?"
"I don't believe I understand the reference." Minerva frowned.
"I think Hermione might have some answers to aid us." Xander said nodding towards the hand waving young girl.
"Muggles have a two wheeled vehicle called a 'bicycle'. It is not easy for young children to ride, so adults attach a second set of wheels to steady the 'bicycle' so they can ride un-aided."
Her explanation was punctuated by a piece of parchment with a rough sketch of both versions of the item in question drawn being passed over to Xander by Harry.
"Nice one guys." Xander grinned as he passed them to Minerva.
"Ah yes, I have seen these before. Just never the training wheels." Minerva agreed. "In which case I would say your analogy was quite correct Mr. Harris." Minerva agreed. "And five points each to Gryffindor for successfully explaining this concept."
Xander spent a few minutes wandering around the classroom watching the children attempt to change the various collections of matchsticks. He came across a boy with a round face who still seemed to be stuck on his first matchstick.
"Hey kid, seem to be having a bit of trouble there." Xander said softly as he knelt next to the table.
"I think my family was right… I must be a squib!" The boy whispered clearly in distress.
"Easy there. What's a squib?" Xander asked placing a calming hand on the boys shoulder.
"A person born to a magical family who can't do magic." The boy said despondently.
"But you made into this school… right? So you must have performed some magic?" Xander insisted.
"I can do some spells." The boy admitted.
"Ok, so what's the simplest and easiest spell you can do?"
"The light spell. Lumos." The boy said slightly excited as his wand tip lit up.
"So, definitely not a squib." Xander pointed out with a raised eyebrow.
"I suppose." The boy agreed reluctantly. "Nox." The light died.
Xander thought for a few moments whilst looking between the boy and the wand a few times.
"Ok, give me your wand a second." Xander said holding out his hand. The young boy nervously placed the wand in the outstretched hand. "Please be careful, it was my father's wand."
"No worries, it's gonna stay right here on the table with us." Xander said carefully laying it down. "Ok. Tell me, where does your magic come from?"
"Our magical cores." The boy answered in what was obviously a textbook quote.
"Now, when you made your wand light up, what were you thinking about?"
"My wand lighting up!" The boy answered as though the answer was obvious.
Xander picked up the wand and held it like the boy had. "So you just thought… 'I want my wand to light up… so Lumos'." This had the effect of making the boys wand light up as it had when the boy held it. Xander was fairly shocked that had happened but kept his face clear.
The boy just nodded, he still didn't know where this was going.
"Here's the secret." Xander winked at the boy before focusing on the light.
The young wizard gasped as the light suddenly vanished.
Then reappeared and finally vanished again.
"The words are pointless. You have to want it. You just have to know that it can be done, and it will be done." Xander said. "Now, make this wand tip light up." He said holding the handle to the boy.
Seconds later and the tip of the wand was slowing blinking on and off.
The look of joy on the boys face was infectious and Xander was beaming along with him.
"Ok, now for the next step. In front of you is a matchstick. On the professors table is a needle. You need to turn your matchstick into a needle like hers." Xander said seriously. "You now know how your magic works, so do it."
The boy stared hard at the needle glistening far away on the teacher's desk, then back at his matchstick. He then pointed his wand at the matchstick and focused so hard that Xander was worried he might have an accident.
"Easy, tell it what to do. You already know it can be done because you saw the professor do it. Now you just have to channel your magic like the light spell. Practice the light spell a few more times to get a feel for it if you need to." Xander warned.
The boy relaxed for a few seconds then started making his wand light up again and again for a minute or so. Eventually he was clearly not straining at all.
He pointed his wand back at the matchstick and took a deep breath and relaxed. Seconds later a shiny needle was sitting proudly on his desk.
"Now that was magic." Xander grinned.
The boy was ecstatic and was clearly trying to contain himself from bouncing around the room in glee. But then he got a worried look on his face.
"What if the professors mark us down for not doing the words and movements?"
Xander just chuckled. "Fake it! Learn them both and just pretend to do them."
"Yes sir! My Grandmother is gonna be so surprised." He said.
"No problem, what's your name?"
"Well, Neville, here's a hint for the future. Just watch how the adults do things. That will give you a clue on how they really work. I saw Professor McGonagall do magic with no words and no movements. So everyone must be able to."
Neville thought there was probably more to it than that. But Mr. Harris had been right so far and the results spoke for themselves. So he just nodded.
"Well, I'll leave you to the rest of your sticks. I suggest you leave one to the side when you're done and practice changing it back and forth."
Xander stood up and turned around stretching his back only to freeze mid pop as he noticed the whole class and the professor staring at him.
"Er… oops?" He said sheepishly.
Professor McGonagall put her hand over her face in defeat and shook her head. The rest of the class was snickering quietly.
"Ok." She said taking a deep breath. "Mr. Potter, Mr. Longbottom and Miss Granger. Please stay where you are. The rest of you off to your next lesson and I want 12 inches of parchment on transfiguring matchsticks to needles by next lesson. Miss Patil, please inform Professor Flitwick that these three will not be in his lesson on time."
The class silently filed out but couldn't resist the snickers and stares that were sent the way of the four left behind.
Xander was standing sheepishly in the same spot next to Neville's desk.
"Mr Harris, why didn't you tell us you are a Wizard?" Minerva asked with an exasperated frown.
"Me? No, no, no… I'm no wizard." Xander denied hastily. "Me and Magic… bad idea. Ask Joyce! She can tell you, as her daughter would say: 'Xander and Magic are un-mix-y things!'"
"Only a wizard can use a wand." Hermione said primly.
"Miss Granger is quite right." Minerva agreed.
"But… Joyce!" Xander called out suddenly.
"Yes Xander. You are a wizard. It would be pretty pointless and irresponsible to bring you here to protect Harry from magical people and not give you the proper tools to fight with." Joyce said answering his questions before he asked them.
"But I'm a jinx when it comes to magic! You do remember the love spell?"
There was a gasp of horror from Hermione and Minerva.
"You performed a love spell?" Hermione asked fearfully.
"That is highly illegal." Minerva said scowling.
"Don't worry, he was about 16 at the time and in a different reality. As you can tell, he has a healthy respect for magic." Joyce assured them.
"That's not respect! That's pants wetting fear!" Xander argued causing Harry to giggle. "Do you not remember my bestest friend? Willow Rosenberg AKA Darth Rosenberg? She who would destroy the world? How about Ethan Rayne?"
"D-D-Destroy the world?" Neville asked nervously.
"Don't worry Neville, Xander took care of it and it won't happen here." Joyce said as she placed a comforting hand on Neville's shoulder.
"If we could leave the discussion of Mr Harris being a Wizard for a moment… I would like to address another concern regarding the fact that he has just taught Neville non-verbal magic and possibly polluted the rest of this class." Minerva said sternly.
"Huh?" Xander asked.
"Neville will have trouble in his classes due to the fact that he will be unable to focus on the lessons and the techniques of the teachers. Imagine if you will, when you were a baby you crawled. As you got older you walked. Have you crawled recently?" She asked with a hint of exasperation.
"So… you're saying it's harder for people who do non-verbal magic to revert?" Xander asked.
"Why would you want to?"
"There are spells that he needs to learn to pass his classes and eventually pass his exams in his seventh year." Minerva explained tiredly.
"Would he be penalized for performing them non-verbally?"
"Well… no, but… it's just… not done!" She said as she ran out of steam and objections.
Xander chuckled lightly. "It is now."
"You do realise that word of what Neville has achieved will spread like wildfire through the school? All the students will want to learn that way." Minerva scowled.
"So teach them. Or teach them both methods." Xander shrugged. "Why not set up an additional class and try to teach the kids what I taught Neville. That words are not necessary, but just a guide. Those that have trouble can still use the words in class, those that don't will learn a new skill."
"Minerva, just write up a report and proposal for Albus. He can sort out the details when he gets back… or he can come back early." Joyce shrugged. "I only sent him away because I'm angry with him."
"Fine! But Xander will be helping." She declared indignantly.
The rest of the day was filled with Charms, History of Magic and finally Potions, the first of which Xander decided the Professor was lonely and had decided to try and bore his students to death so he had company. Half way through the lesson the Professor suddenly stopped mid sentence.
"Oh my!" He said shocked. "I'm dead!"
The students thought this was hilarious, as did Xander who was trying to be inconspicuous. Hermione was scowling at him though.
"What did you do?" She demanded of Xander.
"I see a light…" Binns said slightly awed.
"Me? You wound me dear girl!" Xander said theatrically as he did his best impression of Giles.
"Work on your accent… now what did you do?" She asked again.
"Fair well young children, I go now to my next great adventure!" Binns said as he started to float through the ceiling.
"What does 'e mean by 'next great adventure'… what was his first?" Seamus asked.
"Boring us to death?" Ron offered.
Having lost their History of Magic teacher, Xander realised he was the responsible adult in the room. Something that caused looks of shear horror on his and Hermione's face at that realisation. Fortunately, Joyce turned up and dismissed the class until a new teacher could be arranged. She left the job of informing Minerva to Xander.
Potions. Harry knew there would be problems before they would even step in the room. And he was right.
"You are neither welcome nor required in my room Mr. Harris." Snape snarled as he dug his wand straight into Xander's chest.
Xander looked glibly from the wand to Snape, his hand snapped out, snatching the wand from the mans hand. "That is your opinion. It is neither wanted nor considered." Xander returned in kind. "And you can get this back at the end of your class… maybe."
"How dare you!" Snape railed. "I-"
He quickly shut up when Xander turned the wand on Snape, only for Snape to see lightning crackling on the end. "Seriously, I have no respect for you what so ever. I really doubt I'm going to be impressed by your little cooking class, so why don't we just get this over with so we can finish the day?"
Snape smirked. "Very well, perhaps you would like to see if you can do as well as a first year in my… 'cooking' class."
Xander knew a challenge when he saw one. He also knew he could likely fail and make a fool of himself. But Snape really pissed him off.
"Fine, let's get cooking."
"Take your seats!" Snape snapped. "Mr. Harris can lead us in this potion." He said pointing to the cauldron by the teacher's desk.
"Today you will be brewing the Potion of Forgetfulness." Snape drawled as he reached for his wand to reveal the instructions on the black board. Then he remembered that Harris had his wand.
He turned only to find the one-eyed man grinning at him, a very tooth filled grin.
Snape knew there was little point requesting his wand back so he growled and pulled the board down which had the instructions written.
"Begin!" He snapped.
Xander took one look at the board and snorted. It was a cooking lesson. He looked around the room and noticed that certain students were following their instructions from a book. Mainly the ones from Slytherin.
Certain students like Hermione, also had books out, but these appeared to be textbooks as opposed to the notebooks the others were using.
"Are the instructions too complicated?" Snape snarked.
"No… just, preparing, wouldn't want to make a mistake after all." Xander shrugged with a frown. Something wasn't right here.
Xander moved from behind the teacher's desk and calmly walked over to Hermione. He quickly checked the instructions; there were a few discrepancies, mainly minute amounts of quantities or stirs.
Then he walked over to an almost albino Slytherin and examined his book.
"Harris! Stop disturbing my students!" Snape snapped. Xander detected annoyance with a hint of nervousness.
"Care to explain why there are three different sets of instructions in this class, Snape?" Xander asked with a stony face.
"There is only one set of instructions and those are the ones I gave on the board."
"Which means either their text books are wrong, or you are. But doesn't explain why the Slytherin's have a third set in a notebook written in your handwriting."
"I am hardly responsible if the students choose not to follow the instructions on the board." Snape said dismissively.
"So… if I told everyone to put all books away and follow only the instructions on the board?" Xander asked.
"You would be interfering in my lesson and I would throw you out as is my right." Snape grinned maliciously.
"Joyce?" Xander called out.
"You rang?" Joyce grinned as she affected a deep voice.
"Lurch, you are not!" Xander snickered as did several other students. "Can you duplicate this book enough times for everyone here?" He asked as he held up the albino's book.
"Enough! That book is my own private book. I will decide who has a copy." Snape argued.
"I think Snape is sabotaging certain students. The instructions on the board don't match the instructions in the book and they don't match these instructions." He explained as he brandished the notebook again.
"I knew I should have paid more attention to that Death Eater." Joyce hissed angrily. "This class is dismissed, leave now."
"Harry, you stay put at the back of the class and wait for me." Xander ordered.
"So the perfect Prince has a servant now." Snape sneered.
"Actually, I'm his bodyguard." Xander corrected as he stormed up to Snape. "Means, you mess with him, I mess you up." He snarled into his face.
"You don't scare me you pitiful muggle."
"That's your problem. Just remember, you've been warned. I don't take chances with my charges."
"Severus Snape, tomorrow you will report to the Head's office. We will need to investigate your teaching habits." Joyce said in disgust.
She beckoned Xander who ushered Harry out of the classroom leaving a seething Snape behind.
A few seconds later the door reopened and his wand was tossed to the floor.
That evening Minerva joined the two students with Xander and Joyce in their apartment.
"Unbelievable! You've been here for a single day and caused more havoc than Harry's father and his friends in their seven years at Hogwarts!" Minerva ranted as she paced in their living room.
Harry perked up at the potential stories he might hear of his father, but was quickly disappointed when he realised no one was going to tell any.
"I could live with the chaos you caused in my classroom, I can't fault you for what happened in Potions, but how and why would you do whatever it is you did to Professor Binns?" Minerva asked as she tried to refrain from pulling her hair out.
"The dude was dead. And at the rate he was going his students where likely to join him as he killed them with boredom. As far as I'm concerned I just saved the lives of all current and future students." Xander grinned unrepentantly.
"Yes… well… you may soon find yourself inundated with ghosts, I have had five of the current ghosts request that you send them into the beyond as well. The magical world has never heard of a ghost moving on."
"Should have asked the non-magical world." Xander shrugged.
"They can't see ghosts." Minerva retorted.
"No, but they can detect them and observe their effects… how else do you think they figured out how to exorcise them?"
Not having a response to that, Minerva moved on.
"At least we have reached the weekend, hopefully you can't cause as much trouble." Minerva sighed as she sank into the armchair opposite Xander and the kids.
"Actually, I need to take Harry and Hermione out with me tomorrow. I need to see how much I recognise of this worlds non-magical side and I need to see what the magical world is like." Xander said with an apologetic grin.
Minerva groaned. "Don't you think you could do with a proper guide? Miss Granger will probably make an excellent guide in the muggle world, but she herself is new to the magical side."
"And you don't provide orientation trips in this school?" Xander asked with mild disgust.
"Those would be great!" Hermione chimed in excitedly. Harry nodded quietly in agreement; he was still hoping to hear stories of his parents.
"I do admit the education of muggle-borns is lacking somewhat. I would have to say that such trips would only serve to teach those native to our world. I will raise the issue with the Headmaster on his return."
"There should be trips into the muggle world as well. Most of the wizards and witches born in the magical world know nothing about the muggle world." Hermione said authoritatively causing Xander and Minerva to try and stifle their smiles at the young girls attitude.
"You are of course correct, Miss Granger. But we do not have any professors who could achieve such a feat."
"What about former muggle-born students? Harry's mum was a muggle-born." She argued.
"She was?" Harry asked perking up again.
Minerva frowned at the thought that Harry didn't know this, but brushed the issue aside. "I know of some former students who may be able to help. I promise to investigate and do what I can."
"So, can you be our guide in the magical realm?" Xander asked Minerva as he turned the puppy-dog eyes up full.
"Alexander, I have been a professor longer than you have been alive! Those soulful eyes have no affect on me." She blustered.
Xander just kept it up.
"Oh fine! We will visit Diagon Ally tomorrow, we will leave from the headmasters floo after breakfast." She said as she threw her hands up in exasperation.
"Score!" Xander declared as he nudged Harry with a wink.
Xander frowned as he noticed Harry was rather down despite his best efforts to smile at Xander's antics.
"What's up kid?" Xander asked softly.
"Nothing." Harry said trying to be relaxed and not give anything away.
Xander and Minerva shared a concerned look.
"Harry, you know I'm your guardian and bodyguard right?" He received a timid nod. "That means your life is my responsibility, as is your safety. But… your happiness is also just as important. I need you to tell me when things are wrong so I can try and help fix them."
Harry gave a small sigh. "Everybody seems to know about my parents… except me." He said sadly. "Nobody will tell me anything."
Hermione saw a tear land on her new friends hand and her parents training kicked in as she pulled him into a tight hug and started stroking his back ignoring the way he tensed.
Minerva looked close to tears herself, half for Harry's sadness and half for the care that young Hermione was showing Harry.
Minerva stood up and moved switched seats with Xander so she could sit next to Harry.
"I'm so sorry Harry. Many of us knew your parents and loved them. It's painful for us to talk about them. But that should never have stopped us from sharing our happy memories with you, their son.
"I promise to try and tell you a little about them tonight, but I know one of their friends who would be happy to spend time talking to you about them. It will take some time to find him though." She promised.
Minerva sat with Harry and Hermione for the next few hours telling them of all the heart attacks and ulcers Harry's father nearly caused her and how much she missed his mother. There were very few tears as Minerva had little in the way of bad memories of James and Lilly Potter. Eventually Xander shooed the two children off to prepare for bed and allowed Minerva to tuck them in, it was clear to him that she had missed Harry in the years he had been gone.
Minerva returned to the living room from having tucked the two first years in to find Joyce and Xander drinking hot chocolate with a mug waiting for her.
"Thank you for letting me put them to bed." She said with a warm smile.
"No problem. I take it you knew Harry when he was a baby?" Xander asked.
"Yes." She said with a small smile of remembrance, which turned to a scowl. "I was there when Albus placed him on the doorstep of his Aunts house. I warned him they were bad people. He wouldn't even knock on the door and talk to them!"
"Don't worry, I intend to see they get what they deserve." Xander said dismissively.
After a few more seconds of silent sipping Joyce spoke up.
"Minerva, I need you to teach Xander how to become an Animagus."
"He is a wizard, and he does seem to have a unique grasp of magic, can I ask why?"
"Xander wasn't wrong when he claimed magic doesn't react well to him. When he was brought to this reality, his… issues… were tweaked slightly, they will hopefully give him an edge in this world." Joyce explained.
"You mean in dealing with You-Know-Who?" She asked worriedly. "I thought the prophecy said Harry had to face him."
"Not if I have anything to say about it!" Xander growled. "What's an animagus?"
"A magical person who can change into a specific animal. Minerva, could you give us a demonstration?"
Shortly there was a small tabby cat sat on the coffee table.
"Aw aren't you the cutest?" Xander gushed theatrically.
Minerva changed back.
"Behave yourself young man." Minerva admonished as she failed to hide her smirk.
"Ok, what's this about tweaking my magic affliction and how will it help against the big bad?" Xander asked.
"We honestly don't know. But we will want you to teach Harry and likely Hermione how to transform, hopefully if you do it, it might tweak their reactions as well, and it might just be enough to deal with young Tom." Joyce told him.
"Tom?" Minerva asked.
"Tom Riddle was a student here some fifty odd years ago, he is now known as Lord Voldemort."
Minerva gasped, Xander just shrugged.
"Tom, Voldemort… they both bleed red… right?"
Joyce just gave him an apologetic shrug.
"Right… gonna have to hit the books." Xander sighed, wishing Willow and Giles were here.
"Why would you want to hit books?" Minerva asked.
"Just an expression, basically means to use the books for extensive research… or… at least it's what it means to me." He said wistfully as he reminisced.
"I have a question." Xander asked as he set his drink down. "Why would you want them to write an essay about transfiguring a matchstick to a needle?"
"Provided they do the appropriate reading, they will learn how to perfect wand movements and incantations." Minerva explained.
"But why not make their homework trying to perfect it for the next lesson?" Xander argued. "They could then present their transfigured needles as proof."
"The transfigurations aren't permanent and will revert by the next day."
"Then have them demonstrate the fruits of their practice in the next lesson, or whenever you would normally mark their essays."
"They are normally marked in our free time."
"Their homework is normally done in their free time. Set aside the hour or whatever it is you use to mark their work for them to come to your classroom and show their work."
"The current system has worked for centuries, I don't see why we should change it now." Minerva sighed.
"Because it has been shown to be flawed?" Joyce smirked. "We used to do it all by practical when we first started. I don't know who's idea it was to go written."
"Yeah… the written sucks." Xander scowled. "Seriously, that Snape guy has terrible spelling and handwriting! The textbook was just as bad. I haven't seen anything that bad since research parties with the gang."
"Teaching English was my job. I assume that it simply fell to the wayside in favour of actual magical classes." Joyce said wistfully as she recalled days gone by.
"There are several classes not being taught, English, Math, Geography, the sciences."
"Those are muggle classes." Minerva argued.
"Magicals don't count? Make purchases for sums of money or… erm… I don't know… do math type things?" Xander countered.
"Of course we do, but-"
"You have no contact with nor travel to other countries?"
"You don't do things like… er, use fire, roll down hills, drop things from a height, weigh things, plant things, or have sex for reproduction?"
"What is your point?" Minerva demanded.
"Do you know why you fall to the ground when you jump off a wall?" Joyce asked with a small smile.
"Because nothing is there to hold us up!"
"But why don't you float there? Suspended in the air? What is it that makes you land on the floor instead of float into the sky?"
"I – I… I don't know. We just do." Minerva slumped in defeat.
"Muggles know." Xander smiled as he sipped his drink.
The discussion that followed left Minerva highly sceptical but intrigued. But she would wait till she had proof.