Cordelia and Gunn were making sure the weapons’ they had used the night before were cleaned and ready to use again. It really had been too much to ask, that the time Angel was away be completely trouble free. Luckily it had been a very new fledgling, therefore completely stupid and relatively easy to dust. Unfortunately his friend, though a weak demon, was still a demon. He took a bit more effort to kill and left a much larger mess which she and Gunn had to clean up because it was in a noticeable public place. They had been exhausted when they finally got back and started cleaning their weapons which meant they needed to be checked for any missed demon goo when they woke up this morning. This and Angel hadn’t even been gone a Full 24 hrs.
As they were replacing the weapons there was a flash of light in the middle of the room. When it faded away Angel was revealed holding a sleeping boy in his arms. The Scoobies were then seen getting it from the floor.
“I am never going to get used to that” Xander said shaking his head in disgust.
“I quite agree,” Giles said while Buffy and Willow grumbled quietly trying to be as dignified as possible.
Cordelia squealed and rushed towards Angel. The returning group all tried to shush her; which made almost as much noise as her squeal which was very un- Cordelia like. “Is this Harry?” she asked in a low voice.
“No it’s just some kid we picked up off the street,” Xander snarked.
“That’s enough, you’ll wake him up” Angel growled. “He’s had a big day and I’d like for him to sleep for a while longer. I’ll go put him to bed.” Looking over to Buffy he asked, “Could you explain about the houselves? I don’t want to leave Harry right now.”
Willow looked at Buffy questioningly. Buffy went on to explain about what houselves were and that there were three of them coming to the hotel. The Scoobies then went on to explain their day. Cordy and Gunn had to be physically stopped from trying to go deal with the Dursleys, even though they were overseas.
As Buffy quietly open the door she could see Angel sitting in a chair next to Harry’s bed. He looked over at her with sad eyes, as she came over and climbed into his lap he explained. “He has nightmares, silent nightmares. Those bastards taught him to suffer in silence.” He practically growled out the last sentence.
“We have him now. We can make things better, with enough love and time.” Buffy tried to soothe him.
Angel closed his eyes as if in pain, he nodded in agreement. They both knew we would not be that easy but took comfort that they were there together to help improve this little boy's life. They stayed that way for little while silently giving each other comfort and resting from a stressful day.
“I made arrangements to meet mom and Faith and the rest at the Magic Box around eight tonight. Mom really wants to meet Harry and we need to make plans so that I can live here, still go to school and help with the Hellmouth. I have an idea that I think will help with the transition for Faith, you know make her feel like she’s her own slayer not just a copy of me.” Buffy gave Angel a quick glance and was relieved to see him nodding in agreement. She knew eventually they would disagree on something, probably sooner rather than later.
Angel gave her a worried frown and glanced at Harry, “won’t that be a bit late for Harry?”
Buffy shook her head, “No, both Cordelia and Willow said not to let him sleep to long this afternoon so hopefully he’ll be tired later this evening. If we can get him into bed by midnight or earlier we can start to transition him from London time to L.A. time. They have both traveled a lot and said the time difference is a real pain.”
“That makes sense I suppose,” Angel agreed.
“Besides, we need to try out Willow’s nifty new portal thingy. We found this niche off the lobby that had six of the old fashioned phone booths. You know, all wood and glass,” Buffy said brightly she went on an excited voice. “She said she could make three of them into portals; one for the Magic Box, one for my mom’s house, and one for my dorm room. She could only do the one for the Magic Box today. It takes a lot out of her, so she’ll do another one next week and the last one the week after.”
“So that means you can stay here with me most of the time?” Angel asked with a soft smile. Buffy nodded happily. They settled back to watch over Harry as he slept. They knew eventually they would have to let him sleep on his own, but not right now.
“Oh that is much better!” Buffy said stepping out of the doorway. Angel who had followed closely agreed with her. He had been a little worried stepping into a portal that way, after what had happened with Cordelia earlier in the year. They had trusted Willow so far and she seems to have delivered this time as well.
There were a few moments of fussing and cooing over Harry as expected. Then they seem to divide up naturally Joyce taking Harry over to a corner to play while the Scoobies gathering around the table. Even Cordelia had agreed to come this time.
The tension in the room was thick; Faith could not seem to stand in one place, pacing around the table. Buffy fidgeted in her seat unable to settle. Anya was beside herself with indecision, not knowing where to stand but practically gluing herself to Xander’s side nevertheless. She just couldn’t decide whether to stand between him and Faith or between him and Cordelia.
“Okay I know everybody wants to know just how we’re going to work this out,” Buffy said clapping her hands. She then spread a map of Sunnydale out on the table. “Since Faith is staying at my mother’s I thought she would take these 10 cemeteries over here, the high school and the town. Then while I’m in college, I will take the four cemeteries nearest to the college and the college.” Buffy straighten up and looked around as she finished that “so what you think? Faith will be the main slayer on the Hellmouth I’ll be around for backup and take some of the load off of her so she can actually try to have a life maybe even sit with Harry every now and then.” She said with a smirk to Faith whose eyes widened almost comically.
Everyone felt the tension ease from the room. Giles took off his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Oh Dear Lord, it could not be that easy.”
“Alpha,” Oz stated in his usual bland manner nodding his head in understanding.
“Of course,” Wesley said as understanding came to his face. “Why did we never think of that, it’s so easy? All this time we were trying to force them to work together when we should have given them each their own territory as the Alpha predator they are.”
Placing his glasses back on his face Giles then looked at the two slayers. “Do you feel somewhat different now with your own territory?”
“Yeah I don’t feel all antsy ya know,” Faith said with a shrug. Buffy nodded in agreement, both felt that the tension in the room had lessened considerably. Faith seemed to set up a little straighter and had a bit of a spark in her eye that had been missing before.
Angel listened to the Scooby’s conversation with half an ear, while keeping a close eye on Harry and Joyce. Joyce was asking if Harry had enjoyed his day. “Yes, but shopping with Buffy is scary,” he admitted. Joyce just laughed at that.
“I’ve been shopping with her too and it is a bit scary,” she said with a smile. “So what did you get?”
“They got me loads of clothes, but the best thing was a broom.” His face lit up with this announcement, much to the puzzlement of Joyce.
“A broom?” She questioned just to be sure.
Harry nodded enthusiastically explaining, “you get to fly them.” Joyce’s eyebrow rose at that and she looked over at Angel for confirmation. He gave her a nod and a slight smile to let her know that it was true.
Joyce kept up the conversation and let Harry tell her all about his new friend Ron, who had loads of brothers and just one sister. She then asked if he knew about school here. “Aunt Cordelia,” he started peeking over at Cordelia as he said this, seeing her smile he went on. “She said that I have to go take a test, to see if I’m good enough for the school.”
“I’m sure that’s not what she meant. You probably need a test you to see where you’re at.” Joyce tried to reassure him.
“No she said the school is really lusive
, and only the best people get to go there.” Harry explained earnestly.
Cordelia then proved she had been listening to the conversation, “Exclusive, Harry, the school is exclusive.” She turned to explain to Joyce, “They should have really good security to keep a Harry safe. And I am sure he’ll do fine.” Cordelia then gave up any pretense of caring about the Scooby meeting going on and joined Joyce on the floor for what turned out to be quite a cut throat game of Old Maid even as they taught Harry how to play.
Angel had not even been aware of the fact Old Maid could be cut throat, but he supposed Cordelia was highly competitive no matter what the game was. He watched as Harry missed quite a few moves, thinking that it was because Harry was just learning the game. As he continued to watch however, he noticed a pattern. Slowly he realized his new son was deliberately missing these key plays so that he wouldn’t win. Getting up he went over and sat down next to Harry. He had found a starting point to helping the neglected boy, with a soft smile and a slow (so not to startle the youngster) ruffle of the hair, he started to teach Harry it was ok to win sometimes.
Molly Weasley was bustling around the kitchen when her husband came home and sat at the table with a tired groan.
“You had a long day today dear, is everything alright?” She asked handing him a cup of tea.
Taking a sip he sighed and said, “Thank you, I needed that.” Finally he looked up and froze. His eyes traveled up and down his wife’s frame then did it again just to be sure. “M…m…molly what did you do?” He asked in stunned amazement.
Molly gave a twirl with a flip of her new sleek hairdo and a girlish giggle, he hadn’t heard in quite a while. “I met the nicest young couple today in Diagon Alley. They gave me some tips I never even thought of. Did you know that clothes in the muggle world are quite a bit cheaper than in our world? They have something called discount stores. Yes, I know that Wizard clothes come with spells attached.” She held up a hand to stop Arthur when he started to interrupt. “Really, when you think about it they aren’t anything most of us can’t do ourselves and the children grow so quickly other than shrinking and enlarging spells the rest aren’t really needed.”
Just then there youngest four children ran screaming past the open back door. Even covered in dirt, Arthur could see the new clothes they were wearing. With a small sigh Molly added, “Maybe an Impervious to help keep them clean.”
“Were those muggle dungarees? What are those things Ginny is wearing?” He asked as the twins caught the younger two, tickling them mercilessly.
“Well Buffy called those jeans and Ginny is wearing the cutest little set of coveralls for little girls, they are much more practical than dresses for someone with so many brothers, don’t you think?” Molly said this as if it had not taken Buffy and Willow at least half the day of steady arguments and persuasion to change her mind on what was proper for young girl. It had helped seeing how all the other children in the store were dressed.
Arthur nodded absently while trying to take in all the changes in his wife and children. He had always thought that Molly was lovely, but with this change in wardrobe she seems to have lost 10 pounds just since this morning. She went into the Muggle world! She has never done that. As he thought of this, his youngest four raced by the door again. This time the boys were carrying brand new brooms. Looking at Molly he asked about the brooms. She then sat down to tell him about her day of shopping. As she finished with why she was wearing heels when she had very rarely done so before (cushioning charms are marvelous), he began to make some connections he really wished he hadn’t about her day and the news he was bringing home.
“Today was a very long day not because of work, but because Albus called a meeting. Someone removed Harry Potter from his home this morning. His relatives signed their approval for an adoption.” He explained to his wife watching closely as she too made the connections.
“That’s very worrying; we could only hope those who adopted him were as nice as the young couple I met today. They adopted a little boy from an abusive
home, they asked for all kinds of advice on how to care for a boy. I told them they would be just fine and if they needed any advice they were welcome to owl me or even to floo.” She said this all very carefully watching him the whole time. The message was clear she liked this couple and felt the little boy would be better off with them than where he had been. She wouldn’t do anything to help change that.
Even though Buffy wanted all the Scoobies to come live at the Hotel with them, they seemed to have other ideas. Willow wanted to experience as much College life as possible and to spend as much time with Oz as possible. So, she was going to stay in the dorms for now.
Anya wasn’t pleased with how much money Xander had spent, but was still unwilling to move in with the other Scoobies, even rent free. She wanted to have Xander to herself; away from those he used to have a crush on (sometimes she wasn’t sure he had ever gotten over them). He was getting a second job and they were getting their own apartment, thank you very much.
Giles, until just a few days ago, was thinking of returning to England. Buffy hadn’t seemed to need him anymore he was beginning to feel a bit useless and had felt returning to the land of his birth might send him down a new path. Now Buffy seemed to have a renewed purpose in both her calling and in protecting her new son. He now had not one, but two Slayers to train and a grandson to teach. It was amazing how your life can change in such a short period of time.
Wesley seemed to have grown into his own man since his disastrous time as a watcher hopefully they could collaborate to get the best out of their slayers. They both needed to keep tabs on the Watchers council with the few contacts they had between them, because they both knew the Council would try to kill Faith for sure and maybe Buffy as well. That would leave just one newly called Slayer under their control.
This however did not mean Giles was willing to give up what little privacy the children of his heart gave him. Therefore he was staying in his small flat.
Joyce and Faith were getting used to each other and Joyce wanted to stay in the Home she had made for herself. Faith didn’t want to do anything to hurt the possible new friendships being offered. She felt a little distance would be a good thing.
So, when it came time to leave only Angel, Buffy, Harry, Cordelia, and Wesley went back to the Hyperion.
Arriving back at the Hotel was a bit of a shock. Angel had never seen the Hotel look this good; in fact he was pretty sure it hadn’t looked this good since the 30’s. The Lobby fairly sparkled with all the old Art Deco accents repaired and cleaned. This is when they learned just how efficient House elves could be.
Cordelia also turned down their offer of a Suite. She still wasn’t too happy about Buffy marrying Angel and she felt she would be abandoning Dennis the ghost who lived in her apartment. Dennis took really good care of her and she would miss him terribly if she left.
In the end only Wesley and Gunn decided to live in the Hotel. Oh, and Fred. Angel couldn’t believe that they had forgotten Fred in the whirlwind of the last few days.
Taking Harry up to bed they found their separate rooms were now a Suite with a sitting room in between the two bedrooms. Buffy suggested they should make full out Apartments with kitchens and everything for the people living there, to give them a feeling of independence. She was told very firmly that there was no need for kitchens, the House elves would make any food needed all they had to do was ask. Angel tried to tell them he liked cooking for his friends on occasion. He was told that he could use the Hotel kitchen if he really felt like cooking (they were not encouraging about that).
After a small tantrum or two, Angel was finally persuaded to get Harry into school as soon as possible. He had tried to make them see that Harry should be home schooled but between Buffy and Cordelia double teaming him and the other males in the Hotel making themselves scarce during this ordeal he didn’t stand a chance. The next thing he and Harry knew they were on their way to the first day of school.
Hiding in the bushes to watch Harry in case he was sad….um that is in case a demon figured out who he was. Yeah, that’s it; he might be needed to take down a demon or two at this fancy new school. At the prices this school was charging Angel was sure more than one parent had made a deal with the devil. Unfortunately for Angel, demon hunting aside, the staff seems to have dealt with this before and the next thing he knew he was being escorted off the property with the Dean assuring him that Harry would be fine.
Seated in the car he didn’t have long to wait as first Xander, then Cordelia, Willow, Buffy and finally Oz were all found out and escorted off as well. Huh, Buffy he had been expecting because they at least had come together but the others were a bit of a surprise. A few hours later Giles entered the Lobby casually walking by them on his way to the Phone booths, as he reached them he glanced over his shoulder and said “Amateurs,” with a smirk as he went through.
Harry seemed to truly hate school but aside from that things were beginning to settle down with just an occasional surprise or set back.
Buffy and Willow came home one afternoon in a fit of girly giggles about how the psych TA was hot for Buffy. “He was so totally flirting with you.” Willow told her.
“Really? But I did the whole push my hair back with my left hand so that my ring showed. Then I raised my left hand to answer the Question, there was total ring showage, even the professor caught it,” Buffy told her friend.
“Oh, I think he saw it but I don’t think he cared.” Willow informed the little blond next to her.
Buffy looked shocked, “But he’s so all wholesome and stuffy he wouldn’t try anything with a married woman. Would he?”
“He does seem that way, but he was so totally into you I don’t think he can help testing the waters so to speak.” Willow informed Buffy with a grin. “Now if he would follow through on it I don’t know.”
The rest of the conversation faded as they moved up the stairs. Angel and Harry came slowly out of the office where Harry had been doing his homework and Angel was helping when needed and doing his own paperwork for the business he ran. (A vampire running a legitimate business paperwork and all. Who would have thought?) They didn’t like the sound of that conversation.
Angel guided Harry back into the office. “Now you know you don’t have to call Buffy and I mum and dad unless you really want to right?” Harry nodded his head quickly to cover up his shock that they would even want him to call them that. It was almost too good to be true. But then this whole month had been so he decided to just go with it for now.
Angel continued on, “But just this one time maybe you could call us that, right in front of that…that trespasser. Buffy would get upset if I killed him” Angel muttered the last part and Harry’s eyes widened in shock and some amusement as Angel carried on with his idea.
Buffy was just gathering up the last of her notes talking to Willow and trying not to notice that Riley the TA was trying to get her attention when she heard a familiar voice call out to her with a definitely different form of address.
“MUM! MUM!” Harry yelled, as he ran down the aisle waving a paper at her. “Dad said we can have ice cream! See an A on my math test. Come on we’re getting ice cream.” Repeating what he felt was the most relevant part.
She knelt down and gave him a hug while dutifully looking at his grade, telling him how proud of him she was. Harry never tired of hearing this; she knew his Aunt Petunia never wanted to see his tests. That did not mean she missed the little smirk he sent Riley’s’ way nor the conspirator look he sent Angel. While Harry could definitely be sneaky when he wanted there were some things he hadn’t learned to hide yet. The evil smirk Angel sent Riley wasn’t missed either.
Willow had to hurry from the classroom and Buffy definitely heard the giggling from the hall. Shaking her head she sent a wry smile to Riley and said “Oh, Riley I’d like you to meet my husband, Angel.”
She waited as they shook hands and let the testosterone run rampant, a little posturing and so on. Then she drew Harry to her side and introduced him with pride, “And this is my son Harry.” She could tell he really wanted to ask. Really wanted to, seeing that she had to be about 12 when Harry was born. But he didn’t, with that her smile widened and she announced, “Ice cream calls so I see you next week."