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This story is No. 2 in the series "International Cooperation". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: There are other battles being fought. None are more important than the others. Yet even one defeat could lose the entire war.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > Xander-CenteredSpiffydaWonderSheepFR151620,29963739,61120 Apr 073 Jun 07Yes

Time To Go

Disclaimer: Joss owns the Jossy characters, Jo owns the Joey characters, I promise to reattach all severed limbs before I put them back in the toy box, I reserve the right to edit as I go along, and I will NEVER apologize for the whole Hermione-is-a-pirate thing, Peter.

A/N: You really need to read The World (and everything on it) before you read this, because otherwise nothing will make sense. Go and do that now, 'cause I'm writing this chapter before I go to bed anyway, and you won't have any more of this story until morning, bwahaha.

A few short weeks after rescuing Hermione from You-Know-Who, just as we'd made space in our lives for Buffy and Willow and their Slayers, Buffy called an Order meeting.

They explained everything in calm tones, and everyone else nodded or looked on with tight lips. I was utterly confused, and said so.

"I'm utterly confused. You're leaving?"

"Yes, Ron," Buffy said in her most patient tone. "We're needed to investigate some demon cult-y activity in Chile."

Willow jumped in, "But we're leaving you a squad, for guarding and training and stuff. And when things start to heat up here again, Minerva'll drop me a note on the Blackberry and we'll be here faster than you can chant 'Alamantaraberenesius'!"

I didn't ask why I'd ever want to chant 'Alamantaraberenesius'. Although I really, really was tempted.

"We will certainly miss you two," Mum told them, reaching over Dad to pat Buffy's hand. "When will you be leaving?"

Buffy looked at Willow, who shrugged ever so slightly. "Pretty much now," Buffy admitted. "Our ride should be waiting for us out front."

Everyone started milling around and chattering, forming a scraggly queue to say goodbye and thank you to the two women. Being a fairly junior, pretty much superfluous member of the Order, I did not have a great seat for the meeting anyway. The crush of people and flow of traffic trapped me in the corner of the kitchen, far away from Buffy and Willow.

"Well, I think it's a good thing," Hermione said at my elbow. I looked down at her, and she had her arms crossed over her chest and her eyes fixed firmly on the cause of the commotion. The fingers of her right hand tapped an irregular beat against her left bicep. "I mean, they really can't help us right now, anyway, unless they know where the last Horcruxes are. And while Willow and I discussed using a magical search to collate data from computerized museum catalogs from around the world, really, old-fashioned research methods will probably serve us best, don't you agree?"

I realized I was reflexively counting the number of fingers on her hand. "I'm going to miss them," I blurted out, and instantly wanted to smack myself in the forehead.

Hermione reacted predictably, turning slightly away from me and rolling her eyes.

The herd of people moved slowly through the house. People were stacked up on the staircase to free up room in the front hall. Hermione and I were pretty much stuck in the kitchen, but I could almost see over everyone's heads. Of course, all I could see was that the front door was open. Buffy and Willow, for all their strength and power, are short.

Suddenly, Willow was floating up into the air over everyone's heads. Which solved my problem of seeing quite well. There was a collective gasp from those assembled.

Hermione elbowed me in the ribs. It was a special elbow poke, with a little twist at the end that meant, 'Close your mouth, you look like an idiot.' So, I closed my mouth just as Willow touched down lightly in front of me. "Can I talk to you for a moment in private?" She said, gently pushing me back into the kitchen proper before I could answer. The door closed of its own accord, but not before I could see the look on Hermione's face.

Boy, was she mad.

"Buffy's talking to Harry right now," Willow informed me. "Probably giving him a motivational, it's-a-dirty-prophecy-but-someone's-got-to-fulfill-it speech. There's a problem, though."

"What now?" I sighed.

"Buffy really sucks at giving motivational speeches," Willow said. "Which is where this comes in."

She held a small box out to me. It was glowing, and had push-type buttons on it. "What does it do?" I asked, taking it from her hand. It had a little clock on the glowy bit, and a picture of a tulip.

"If Scary Harry comes out to play again, you just push that green button. Then you can talk to me, and I'll send help right away."

Something clicked in my head. "Like a fellytone!" I exclaimed. Then I said, "I'm not really good with fellytones."

Willow laughed and patted my arm. "Have Hermione show you how to use it."

"Thanks, Willow," I said, and added, "For, y'know, everything."

"Hey, us sidekicks, we have to stick together," Willow turned, opened the door, and floated back over the heads of everyone. There was a flash of white light, and I knew they were gone.

"What did she want?" Hermione demanded, her eyes flashing.

I slipped the fellytone into the pocket of my jeans. "Nothing. 'Cept to say goodbye."

Hermione made a disapproving noise and turned her back on me.

The crowd parted then, and I got a glimpse of Harry, listening to someone talk. He was nodding his head, but the light reflecting from his glasses made him look like he had red, glowing eyes. I shuddered and went back into the kitchen.

I was there, after all, may as well scrounge something to eat and save myself a trip.
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