Story goes AU after Prisoner of Azkaban, for the sake of the story Hermione Granger disappeared the summer between her fourth and fifth year in Hogwarts. As to the Buffyverse, everything from Graduation, season 3, and forward is AU. For reasons I will not say just yet, Faith never went evil, nor did Angel return to the living after Buffy killed him.Disclaimer:
I own neither Harry Potter, nor BtVS. I'm merely doing this for fun!Summary:
Five years after disappearing without a trace, a girl once named Hermione Granger returns to the life she thought she had left behind in an attempt to find a reason to continue living…Pairing:
Is as of this moment still undecided, suggestions are very welcome. A/N: I wrote this chapter a while back, but have waited with posting it here at TTH because I foolishly thought my computer would be fixed by now. Turns out I was wrong and my computer is still not fixed, it crashed for the third time last week and once again I was forced to send it to the support department. LOL. Anyway what I meant to say is it’ll take time before I update this story, as well as Colliding Lives. But I will update, I swear! It’ll just take some time ;)
While I appreciate any kind of feedback you can give me, flames will be ignored. And a huge thank you to Ange for giving me an honest opinion.
All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere
Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrowMad World
- Gary Jules
As she walked slowly along the streets of Diagon Alley, a wistful expression entered the face of Buffy Summers. Years had passed since she last set foot in this part of the world, much less allowed her to remember her past here. Yet, as she walked by the colorful stores, it felt as if it was only yesterday she first saw it.
It’d been after she first received the letter to Hogwarts, after she’d first learnt of the wizarding world and she'd gone there on a hunt to find the material on the list that had been sent along with the letter. Of course, back then she hadn’t been known as Buffy Summers, she’d been known as a shy know-it-all by the name of Hermione Granger, a muggle with no previous knowledge of the magical world.
Yet, when the letter had arrived, she’d been thrilled. It’d felt as if it was faith leading her there. Now years later as she recalled that particular thought, she snorted humorlessly to herself. She probably couldn’t have been more right when she first thought that thought. Then again, back in the ”old” days, she’d been a smartass. If Xander had been around, he’d probably have said she still was one. The thought made Buffy smile sadly to herself. He wasn’t around. He was gone just like the others.
The familiar pain in her heart came back, hitting her with full force and she fought hard with herself not to let it take control. It’d been months since their deaths, but every now and then it felt like it had had happened yesterday. Giles had told her it was normal to feel that way. She knew he was probably right but somehow it still felt wrong for her to forget, to laugh and be happy only to remember that they were dead and she was alive. They’d been the innocents, it’d been her duty to save them, at the very least give her life protecting them but she hadn’t. She was the slayer; it was her destiny to die for the greater good. It hadn’t been theirs.
Closing her eyes, taking a deep breath, Buffy stood still for a moment before she continued her strolling as people walked past her, engulfed in their own little worlds. She couldn’t break down, not here, not now, preferably never again.
Glancing at the clock on her wrist, she quickened her pace a little. It was almost noon already and Giles would, with all certainty, be waiting; well, more like pacing anxiously, she thought, for her outside the Leaky Cauldron.
Maybe it was foolish to choose that as their meeting place but Buffy didn’t really care. Being back in London, in Diagon Alley, helped her forget, if only for a moment, everything that had gone down at graduation. And reality was that she probably had been forgotten in these parts. It’d been nearly five years since Hermione Granger disappeared from the wizarding world without a trace. Longer than she’d been around to begin with. And it had been five years since Buffy Summers first made her appearance as the newly-called slayer.
Everything had changed since then, especially her, and not just on the outside either; she'd changed in every way possible. She was no longer a friend to the Boy Who Lived, she was no longer his little helper or living under his shadow, not that she'd ever seen it that way. She was a slayer now, had a destiny of her own and a sacred duty to fulfill. That's what she'd been told from day one at least.
It was her calling that tore her away from the life she'd created as a witch. While it hadn’t been the first time a witch was called as a slayer, the Council’s rules were that no slayer was ever raised or trained as one, that because it could interfere with her training as a slayer and confuse her as to her calling as a warrior for the light.
While Buffy hadn’t approved with those rules, she had none the less followed them. That's who she'd been back then, the obedient bookworm who never got into trouble; well, if you didn't count the trouble she found when around Harry and Ron. That was why she hadn’t refused when she and her family was moved from England to the current Hellmouth in Sunnydale, California, USA. The Council had gone to powerful lengths to cover all their traces, making Hermione Granger and co. ”vanish” into thin air one late summer day. She never even said goodbye to her friends.
She hadn’t had any contact with the wizarding world since that day. And on some level Buffy couldn’t help but think that maybe that was for the best, because that way Harry, Ron and everyone else she had cared about in her old life were safe. They wouldn’t lose their lives because of her. Not like Xander and Willow had. Like her mother had.
When Giles first suggested that they should go to London, Buffy had refused. But in the end he had convinced her. After all, there was no longer anyone or anything standing in their way. Since neither of them worked for the Council, neither of them had to follow their rules. And there wasn't anything forcing either of them to stay in Sunnydale, or in the states for that matter. Faith and Wesley were more than capable to handle the situation on the Hellmouth, not to mention the slaying in general. They’d agreed with Giles that she needed a change in the scenery so to speak, something that still surprised Buffy. Never, during the entire time she’d known Faith, had she seen the brunette slayer agree with her pompous stuck-up watcher, to quote the hot-tempered teenager. It had been that knowledge that finally made Buffy accept Giles’ offer to travel back to London, if only for a short period of time. Because maybe it really would help.
When the blonde slayer first learned that Giles knew of the wizarding world, she’d been surprised. But as time had passed and she’d learned more about her watcher the surprise had diminished. Instead, she’d grown to appreciate the fact that they in some ways shared the same background. It only made her trust the older man more. On days that she’d found herself longing for the past, they’d sat down and shared stories about Hogwarts and the wizarding world in general. Laughing and joking about things that only a wizard or a witch would understand. It had helped ease the pain and the guilt she’d felt over leaving her friends and old life behind.
Just as Buffy finally reached the Leaky Cauldron and spotted Giles, who was worriedly scanning the people passing by looking for his young follower, she heard someone calling her name. Instantly she froze. But then logic took over, a voice telling her that it was just her mind playing tricks on her. That a million of other girls too were called Hermione. That it would be almost impossible for anyone from her old life to recognize her now, after all in these days she was a blonde. Refusing to turn around Buffy resumed walking, quickening her pace even more, stubbornly ignoring the little voice in her head telling her to turn around and look. She could see the concern in her mentor’s face, who now had spotted her and she vaguely shook her head, telling him she was okay, that nothing was wrong.
But the moment she reached him, she suddenly knew she couldn’t stay there any longer. The memories were becoming too much for her to handle and she just wanted it all to stop.
“What’s wrong?” Giles' eyes were filled with worry as he looked at his very pale protégé.
“Nothing…I just…it’s too much. I wanna go back to the hotel.” Buffy looked at him pleadingly, her eyes very old and very tired.
Instead of asking questions like she’d assumed he would, Giles walked up to her and put his arms around her. Closing her eyes gratefully, Buffy leaned into him, breathing deeply before finally opening her eyes again. Something, she didn't know what, made her turn her head slightly and that's when she saw them. First she blinked, convinced that they weren't real but when they didn't disappear she suddenly became very cold. She hadn't imagined the voices.
Still in shock, Buffy didn't even react or blink when Giles Disapparated them back to the safety of their hotel rooms a moment later. For some reason she felt like crying; after all this time, after so many years, they still hadn't forgotten her. And they'd still cared enough to try and make contact.
"Buffy...what's wrong?" Giles' gentle voice washed over her, drawing her back to reality.
"I...I think...I just saw an old professor." Slowly tilting her head up to look at her older companion, Buffy stared at him with dazed eyes. "And he recognized me."TBC...