Still a 'Fawkes'
Disclaimer in first chapter.
WARNING: THIS IS CONTAINS A FEW BOOK SEVEN SPOILERS. Yes, I made it canon... END WARNING.
A/N: It felt vaguely unfinished, so sue me. Here's a nice little epilogue.▬▬▬▬▬Many years later...
Albus watched as Harry faded from view, going to battle the monster that an ignorant world had helped create. He sighed and leaned back against the bench, waiting to return to his own corner of the afterlife.
A brief flash caught his attention as someone who he had not seen in over a hundred years appeared, naked and golden and every bit as beautiful as the first time he saw her.
She smiled and trotted over to him, strange garments appearing out of the ether to clothe her lithe form. He was startled, though not objectionably so, to see red leather pants and a black silk blouse settle against her skin. By the time she reached him she was noticeably taller, spiky black heels adding a good three inches to her diminutive height.
He did not speak as she settled herself on the bench beside him, content merely to have her with him again. He had missed her since his death, with a dull ache that lingered on like a particularly virulent flu. Though that was a comparison best kept to himself, he had yet to meet the female - be she avian or human - who appreciated being likened to a virus.
"It's been a long time since I last saw you like this."
"Gee, ya think?"
Albus had had many years to grow accustomed to his familiar's rather acerbic wit. Her body language had rarely needed a translation, it was no surprise to hear her disparage his latest bit of intelligence. He studied their surroundings with her - King's Cross Station - an apt place for one between life and death.
"So," she chirped, breaking into his silent reverie and sending a sidelong look his way, "Come here often?"
"Only when the living need my counsel. And you?" He gestured to the train, shining and red, off to the side, "Is this what you see when you - "
"No," she shook her head, "This is all Harry. My between-place is very different." She frowned, scrunching up her delicate features in concentration and throwing Albus back into a nostalgic frame of mind. He could not help but remember an early spring when he had almost had a mental breakdown while she had pursued a simple oblivion.
Slowly the world around them shimmered, becoming dark and rather grim. Instead of pavement and the bright light of the sun, there was cool green grass and the dim illumination of far-off streetlamps. Gravestones dotted the grass here and there, and a soft breeze ruffled two heads: one gray-white, the other brown-blonde.
"A cemetery?" He was surprised, "Why?"
Her face was dark with repressed memories. At his concerned look, she mustered up a small smile, "What better place for a phoenix to rest then a place where she'll never get to actually - " Her words trailed off and a sigh forced it's way out of her breast.
"Your time with me..." Albus smiled faintly, "No, I don't suppose it was
the rest you were looking for. My life has been, well... interesting." He settled on the rather tame adjective, hiding a smile and waiting for the inevitable explosion.
?" Her mouth flapped for a moment, her eyes kindling with ire as she squawked, "You call that interesting
?!" Her jaw worked silently for a moment as flickers of memories ran across her face, taking her through an entire gamut of emotions as Dumbledore's life flashed before her eyes. Eventually she laughed and scrubbed a weary hand through her hair and down her face before turning and fixing him with a look that said she was laughing - despite her attempts to hide it.
"You - " she jabbed a finger into his chest, " - are a master of understatement."
His eyes twinkled mischievously, "I try." Before her eyes years melted from his frame, leaving behind the visage of Albus-at-twenty-five: apprenticed to Nicholas Flamel and already firmly set on the path to greatness. Soft glimmers of light began to flicker around his form, and he turned suddenly sad eyes towards his life-long friend.
She nodded, understanding his unspoken thought, "You have to go, I know." Her face tried to form a small grin for him, but it seemed to crack in the attempt - tears began to run unnoticed from her eyes.
Gently, Albus reached out and caught one on his fingertip, "Phoenix tears, eh?"
"A little too late I guess, huh?"
He smiled softly, "What will you do?"
She shrugged, "I don't know, it's not as if there's anything left for me back there. Maybe I'll go back to Harry's in-between place, see where one of those trains takes me..." a small sob broke free, and suddenly she was cradled against his body, ignoring the sparkles that threatened to consume him.
He pushed her back far enough to see her face and leaned forward, pressing a tender kiss to her lips. It was an act over a hundred years in the making, and all the sweeter for it.
"Wherever you go, my lady, may you find your peace." The tableau was - if not broken, then at least fractured - when he wrinkled his nose, an expression he had obviously picked up from her: "You never did tell me, what was
She rolled her eyes, "You're still on about that? 'Fawkes' has suited me for years, it's a lot better than my real name anyways..."
He looked at her patiently.
She huffed, "Fine. It's Buffy, Buffy Anne Summers."
He considered that for a moment, and if the thought, What sort of a name is Buffy?
crossed his mind, well at least he had the sense not to speak it aloud. Still, her eyes were intent upon his face, waiting for some sort of a reaction. At last he shrugged and said, deadpan, "You'll always be a 'Fawkes' to me."
His last sight of her, as the twinkling lights whisked him away, was of flashing eyes and teeth, and the soft whispering hum of her giggle.
And that was the sweetest sound of all.▬▬▬▬▬
A/N2: And that's all she wrote. Thanks to everyone who reviewed or recommended the first chapter, feel free to comment on this one.