I want to thank Anouk
for her artwork for this story. Her artwork is lovely and I feel honored that she chose my story to illustrate graphically. The images have been saved to my own server to conserve her space.
: If you wish to see the previous chapter as the end of the story, I will not hold it against you. This isn't what many of you would have liked to see, either. This chapter was written several weeks ago and it seems a dirty shame to waste it. I just wanted to write in this voice once
and I finally
was able to use the book to do it. So, without further ado...
EpilogueNineteen Years Later
Teddy Lupin strolled easily through Kings Cross, his eyes searching for the shiny signs marking Platform 9 and Platform 10. He paused for a moment and rounded, blinking when he realized the person following him had been with him since they had side-Apparated just five minutes before.
“It takes more than that to make me lag behind,” came a sleepy voice. Bright green eyes held his and Teddy couldn’t resist a grin as he leaned down to take the small hand into his. “But why take me here?”
“I’ve been waiting eight years for you to come,” Teddy replied seriously, yanking her hand and pulling her behind him. “And seven of those when I was at Hogwarts.”
Buffy Summers wore an amused smile as she let the eager nineteen-year-old male veer through the throngs at the busy London railway. When he finally came to a stop, she peered around his considerably taller frame, her eyes narrowing at the sight of a brick archway.
For the first time in a long while, Buffy felt apprehension. Slowly, she turned to Teddy, one eyebrow quirking. With a smile, Teddy wrapped an arm around her shoulders and pulled her to him. “Close your eyes,” he whispered. Buffy inhaled sharply, her eyes closing just as Teddy gave her a rather hearty shove forward. She put her hands out to brace herself, but regained her balance, her hands still held steadfast in front of her. She opened her eyes, glancing in front of her. Instead of a brick wall, there was a wall, but it was a good distance away from her.
A hand touched her shoulder and she gasped, glancing up as Teddy took her by the arm and led her into a large platform. A shiny red sign above their head read ‘Platform 9 ¾’.
“Told you it was real,” Teddy teased.
“Oh, my,” Buffy murmured, feeling her feet stop moving. There was just something incredible here, something so magical, it took her breath away.
“Will you come on?” Teddy laughed, his voice muffled by hundreds of other voices.
“Why?” Buffy teased, quickly catching up with him. “You don’t want me to see your pretty girl?” Catching the flush on Teddy’s cheeks, she started chuckling. “Oh, so there is a girl!”
“You are not helping,” Teddy said, struggling to keep a straight face.
“Uh-huh,” Buffy deadpanned. “So, who is she?”
“You’ll meet her,” Teddy replied. “She’s Head Girl this year.”
“Ah, so you’ve got a younger girl,” Buffy said in a singsong voice. “Well, we might as well—“
The blonde dropped Teddy’s arm and turned to the right, trying to peer through the crowd and the weird mist coming from the scarlet engine. Her face broke into a brilliant smile as she saw a redheaded woman waving at her. “Ginny!”
Before Teddy could pull her back, Buffy was moving through the crowd until she reached Ginny, throwing her arms around the redhead, as though greeting one of her dearest friends.
“I never thought I’d ever see you here,” Ginny said happily as she pulled back, tugging on her cloak. “You or…” Her eyes dropped to Buffy’s left side, as though looking for someone that wasn’t there. “Where is—“
“With Andromeda,” Buffy replied, folding her arms across her chest. “Or Granny Andie, as she calls her.”
“It would have been great to see her here.”
“As if she’d actually see it,” Buffy replied, taking another long look around the platform. “She’s entirely Muggle.”
“You’re not entirely Muggle,” Ginny reminded her.
“But her father was,” Buffy said quietly. “Besides, I have yet to see her show any signs of magic.”
“You never know,” Ginny said hopefully.
“Hello, Buffy,” came another warm greeting as a brunette appeared next to Ginny.
“Hey, Hermione!” she said, giving the brunette a quick hug. “You’re looking good.”
“As are you,” Hermione replied warmly. “How is Grace?”
Buffy felt herself with a lopsided smile on her face, her head tilting as she fondly recalled her daughter’s latest antics. “She’s great. We’re both great. She starts another year tomorrow.”
“That’s wonderful,” Hermione murmured, beaming. “Is she—“
“With Andromeda, actually,” Buffy said, shifting her weight slightly. “What can I say? The girl’s attached.”
Ginny and Hermione exchanged a bemused expression. In the nineteen years since Buffy Summers had come into their lives, they had yet to see her walk out and close the magical doors. Buffy and Andromeda had always remained close, even as Buffy’s life distanced her from the other side of the world, but the friendships she had made with those in the magical world had yet to break.
Teddy, of course, had always remained on good terms with Buffy. He had spent his vacations with the Summers’ sisters and later, when Buffy had married, had spent time with her new family. Even after Buffy’s life had taken a downturn, Teddy was one of the constants that had not changed, nor did she ever expect it to.
And, here she was, in the flesh, standing with them as they said goodbye to their children at Platform 9 ¾, as their parents had done with them years before.
“Oh, kids, look who’s here,” Harry spoke up, appearing suddenly with two small children on either side of him. A small-boned, redheaded girl suddenly squealed, coming forward as Buffy stuck out her hand, the redheaded girl slapping down with her opposite hand so hard the resulting smack echoed around them.
“Lily, how’s the girl of the valley doing?”
“Absolutely bonkers!” the girl said happily, throwing her arms around Buffy’s waist. Buffy turned, grinning, to Albus Severus, who stared at her with those intense eyes and reached a hand out to him, seeing a trace of fear in his eyes. “How ‘bout you? First trip on the express, Al?”
“Err, yeah, actually,” the boy said, swallowing nervously.
“I still have to wait two years,” Lily pouted, tugging on Buffy’s sweater jacket. Buffy laughed and gave the girl a quick squeeze.
“While you do, I sure bet Gracie wouldn’t mind seeing you while you wait. All she has to hang around with are Xander’s girls and they’re snobs. You she likes. Them… not so much.”
“Thanks,” Lily said, her lips quirking upwards.
“Just as long as you don’t turn Mr. Squiggles into a… what did you turn him into again?”
“I believe it was a bear,” Ginny said, not able to suppress her smile.
“As long as it wasn’t a spider,” Ron said, shuddering as he appeared at Hermione’s side.
“I don’t think my daughter appreciated her teddy bear turning into a real bear, but at least she didn’t pick up too much on it,” Buffy replied with a sigh. “Such is the way with babes.”
“Right,” Ginny said slowly, eyeing Buffy apprehensively. Buffy turned instead to Rose and Hugo, both blinking up at her. While Buffy knew Ginny’s kids well enough, she had yet to really spend any time with Ginny’s niece and nephew.
“So you’re the super cool Weasley kids?” she asked cheerfully.
“Sometimes,” Hugo replied, hovering near his mother as Hermione put a hand fondly on top of his messy red hair.
“All the time,” Hermione teased. “She hasn’t met all of your cousins yet. And by all of them…”
“She means all of them,” Ron muttered.
They were interrupted by young James, a bright thirteen-year-old who, despite his parents, had inherited the grace of his Uncle Ronald.
“Teddy’s back there!” he cried breathlessly. “Just seen him! And guess what he’s doing? Snogging Victoire
!” He looked from one adult to the other, his face falling a fraction. “He said he’d come to see her off and then told me to go away!”
Buffy tried to hide an amused look as Ginny gave Ron a dark look and muttered, “You really are
“I hope I’m not interrupting anything,” came Teddy’s teasing voice as Buffy rounded on him. James stopped gloating and stood stock still, hidden slightly behind his father, while Lily giggled.
“I was wondering where you’d disappeared to,” Buffy replied, folding her arms to her chest. Her eyes moved to the blonde standing next to him. “And this is…”
“Their daughter,” Teddy said, indicating a tall, red-haired man with a short ponytail and a stunning blonde with pale skin advancing towards them. “Victoire Weasley, meet Buffy Summers.”
“It’s so great to finally meet you,” Buffy said, shaking Victoire’s hand. “Teddy has told me absolutely nothing about you.”
“You would think we were neighbors as much as Teddy talks about you,” Victoire replied softly. “He is very fond of your daughter.”
“Oh, Gracie?” Buffy asked, surprisingly touched as she eyed Teddy, who was pulling out his wallet.
“I’ve got a picture in here,” Teddy said, flipping it open past a picture of the three Potter children waving to a pretty black-and-white picture of a small, brown-haired girl standing in a field holding a sunflower. “This is Grace Summers.”
“It isn’t moving,” Victoire commented, poking at the picture.
“That’s because I believe it was taken with a Muggle camera,” Bill Weasley said good-naturedly, taking the image for a moment.
“It was taken by her grandfather, actually,” Buffy replied, feeling her eyes mist over at the memory. “Her father’s father, her last link to him.” Her fingers brushed the image as she handed it back to Teddy. “I didn’t know you kept a picture of my daughter with you.”
“It makes sense,” Teddy shrugged, those bright blue eyes holding hers along with that impish grin that she remembered so well.
As he spoke, the train’s whistle gave one loud, piercing toot. Children still on the platform began to double-time it to the train.
“Yes, you wouldn’t want to be late,” Buffy teased Victoire, who had suddenly turned to look at the clock, which read three minutes to 11.
“Oh, I won’t,” Victoire beamed, before turning back to her parents. Buffy stepped back to give Teddy a bit of privacy with his girlfriend, her eyes scanning to Ginny and Hermione, who were saying goodbye to their children.
In the nineteen years since she had left Andromeda’s house, headed home, much had changed. She had gained a sister, lost her mother and her own life – twice. The ‘gang’ had then relocated to Scotland after a rather large apocalypse, giving Buffy ample time to connect with her British friends again. They had stayed in contact, mostly by letters and, later, email. Dawn had been rather shocked when an eight-year-old boy suddenly appeared on the front step of their shared bungalow with his grandmother.
A few years after being the lead slayer of many in Scotland, she had stepped aside to let the aging slayers take the lead for awhile. She had instead focused her attention on her personal life which, she figured, suffered during her time as a slayer. A young Watcher had caught her eye and after a whirlwind, she had finally settled for marriage and a baby, contented. But her luck changed nearly overnight. Her husband’s entire group had been trapped, tortured and brutally killed in a nightmare that still gave her terror-filled dreams of his mutilated body. Grace had not yet turned two.
From there, she had taken over the Watcher’s Council, choosing to reform it from the inside out. With her contacts in the Wizarding world, two wizards had stepped into the Council and the rest of the Watchers were none the wiser. Her life became less ambiguous and more defined by her family, especially Grace. Dawn was all right, having gone back to the USA for college and meeting someone there. Though settled, the original Scoobies all stayed connected and Buffy would not have it any other way.
She waited until Teddy returned to her before she looked up at him, pushing her hair from her face. “Ready?” he asked lightly.
“Yes,” Buffy said, watching as the scarlet engine gave another sharp whistle before it began to slowly move. “I have a sudden inkling to go shopping.”
“Shopping? Now?” Teddy asked in disbelief as they ran through the barrier, appearing back at Kings Cross. “Let me guess… you have a hot date tonight?”
“I…” Buffy huffed, folding her arms. “Well, maybe.”
“Now who’s the one getting it?” Teddy asked her, one eyebrow arching playfully as Buffy rolled her eyes. “It wouldn’t happen to be a certain large-dark-creature-handler-turned-trainer, would it?” At Buffy’s dark glower, his tone dropped. “Is it?”
“And you’re not telling anyone,” Buffy warned him. “I’d hate to have to explain to your grandmother that her nosey grandson accidentally got pushed in front of a train.”
“She’d get you back.”
“Ah, but she likes me,” Buffy pointed out.
“I’m her grandson!” Teddy blurted out. “She loves
me. I wouldn’t tell anyone anyway.” He glanced behind him and saw Ginny and Harry hurrying along, Lily tucked in between them. Ron and Hermione were a short distance behind them, talking about getting coffee and taking Hugo shopping to cheer him up. “I don’t blame you for not saying anything though. Wouldn’t want to get their hopes up.”
“You know me,” Buffy sighed under her breath, pulling her bag over her shoulder as they walked out into the brilliant sunlight. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my time here, it’s that there is actually something worth fighting for if it matters just enough. It’s usually that fighting part where the ‘something’ turns up dead.”
“He must be,” Teddy said, waving briefly at his godfather and his honorary godmother. “I haven’t seen you looking this alive since… well, Dawnie’s wedding.”
“That was six years ago!”
“Back when he was still alive,” Teddy added ruefully. “I-I’m sorry, I didn’t mean—“
“It’s alright, you know?” Buffy asked, pausing slightly as Teddy reached over to take her arm. “I mean, we’re doing alright. We’re not perfect, but we’re doing the best we can. Things got rough for awhile and people died. I’m sure you know something about that.”
A dark shadow passed over Teddy’s face. If there was one thing he learned at Hogwarts, it was the legacy his parents had left behind. “I think I do.”
“So,” Buffy said as the moment passed, Teddy taking her arm for side-Apparition. “You want to go shopping with us? Gracie’s school supplies… very fun!”
“Oh, I rather think not,” Teddy mumbled. “You know, I’m really glad Grandmum stopped inviting you along every year at Diagon Alley. You try to be the only one with a copper cauldron!”
“I liked that color,” Buffy cried, a pout evident in her voice. “Maybe I’ll ask Andie to go.” At Teddy’s groan, the smirk in her voice became evident. “Three versus one isn’t very good odds.”
“I can’t believe I skipped work for this!”
“Aw, admit it… you like us!”
“Well, I like her
There was a small pop
as Teddy Disapparated there in the shadows beside Kings Cross. When they reappeared, it was before a small, cottage-style house with ivory paint and an old gate. The pair continued to argue good-naturedly, considering that the woman was nearly twice as old as the boy, even as they passed through the front gate and up the worn stone path to the steps. As the door opened, a cheerful child was heard crying happily for her mother and an amused woman, the faint signs of grey showing in her dark hair, stared out for a moment into the perfect silence, blue eyes trained on nothing, before she closed the door, shutting the rest of the world behind.- The End -