TITLE: Dragons For Christmas
FANDOM: BtVS / Harry Potter
PAIRING: Buffy/Charlie Weasley
WORD COUNT: 4,196
DISCLAIMER: This is easy. I own nothing.
NOTES: Takes place after Season Seven of Buffy and after the final Harry Potter book.
Written for: Twisting the Hellmouth 2008 Holiday-Fic-A-Thon for Amers.Crossover Fandom: Buffy/Harry Potter
Characters/Pairings: Buffy/Charlie Weasley
Max Rating: FR15
Three things you'd like to read: Buffy & Charlie reunited after a breakup/parting of ways, Buffy is injured, a meeting with the rest of the Weasley clan.
What you DON'T want to read: Very much about the rest of the Scoobies or having it set before the end of the series.
Christmas theme: I'm indifferent. Whatever strikes the writer.
Anything else your author should know? Thank you!
Sometimes, she hated her life.
Not only had a group of incredibly disgruntled – and incredibly stupid, in Buffy’s opinion – dark wizards managed to steal a group of young dragons and attacked one of the Council’s Scotland training facilities, with Buffy being the only Senior Slayer close enough to get there in time for the second wave, but they had decided to attack on Christmas.
When she was supposed
to be on a flight back to Cleveland, to spend the holidays with her sister and the rest of the Scoobies, a holiday they had been planning for the last year. With how scattered the core Scoobies had become since the collapse of Sunnydale, they wanted a chance to spend a few, Apocolypse-free days together. A time to re-establish their relationships, to spend quality time together, just like the time before they ran the Council.
And because of a few vengeful dark wizards, those plans were shot.
Buffy muttered curses under her breath as she pulled her bag, weighed down with her most favorite weapons, out of the idling taxi. Dolling out the correct change to the driver, thanking him with a slight but distracted smile, she trudged unhappily towards the cottage.
The only light in the cottage was the flickering of candlelight in the front room, as the electricity had been the first thing knocked out when the wizards had attacked. Her senses, already heightened because of the magic residue left from the original attack, tingled at the presence of vampires nearby. Nobody had mentioned that
during the initial briefing. Groaning slightly in annoyance at the lack of communication, she shifted her bag slightly on her arm as she raised a hand to knock.
Voices floated out of the cottage, so soft that the normal person would not be able to distinguish them. Buffy, though, was not a normal person and her hearing was much more in tune to her surroundings compared to others. Which was why she recognized a variety of voices from inside. Including one heart-breakingly familiar voice.
Of course he would be there and she mentally hit her head at not seeing that before. Not only was he incredibly experienced as a dragon keeper, but he was one of the wizard’s representatives in working with the Council. Which, really, she should have remembered. That was the reason they met, after all.
Vaguely wondering if he knew she was the Slayer coming, Buffy took a deep breath and knocked firmly on the door, listening as all conversation came to an abrupt halt. Moments passed without a sound from those on the opposite side of the door and idly, she wondered if she should knock again. Just as she raised a fist, the door swung open and Buffy found herself face-to-face with the man she had avoided for months, whose calls she refused to return.
“Hello, Buffy,” he said in a low, stoic voice, that even now, with the wary undertone, almost made her melt at the sound.
Instead, with a small smile, she nodded towards him, “Charlie.”
Silence passed between the two former lovers, the tension between them threatening to choke the room. Taking a slightly uneven breath, Buffy broke her eye contact with Charlie and glanced towards the other occupants of the room, nodding to everyone, even those she did not recognized. They would be introduced soon enough.
“So what’s the plan?” she asked finally, not able to look back at Charlie, instead focusing her attention on the man that seemed to be in charge.
The others – wizards, she could tell – exchanged looks briefly before explaining the situation to her, explaining how many vampires, dark wizards, and dragons were still at the scene and still able to partake in a fight. She frowned slightly at the mention of the many dragons, but brushed the thought away. Now was not that time to concentrate on her dragon-hate. She had a battle to fight, newbie Slayers to guide. She had to concentrate.
Which she was doing a terrible job already, as she realized the wizards had stopped talking and were glancing at her expectedly. Oops, her bad.
“When can we be ready to roll out?” she asked, trying to cover up her lack of attention. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed Charlie’s mouth twitching slightly in amusement, though he tried to fight it. Even if no one else noticed, he knew was had not been paying attention. He could tell, even now. Even though they had been broken up for almost a year. He could still read her like a book, something few people could do.
“In a few hours…” one of the wizards started before being cut off by Buffy.
“Alright. Get your wands ready, I’ll arm up the girls,” she ordered, her tone daring then to argue. Though the one who she interrupted glared at her, none of the other wizards replied. Nodding towards them, she stood up and walked out of the room.
Passing a bedroom, giggling from the doorway caused Buffy to turn sharply at the sound, just in time to see a few pairs of wide-eyes staring back at her before the door closed quickly, shielding the occupants from her gaze. Frowning, she reached forward to open the door, but stopped as a voice from down the hall called out, “They’ve been waiting for you to arrive.”
She turned toward Charlie, the room forgotten about as she tilted her head quizzically. “They?”
“The new Slayers,” he explained, his voice betraying none of the emotions and feelings of seeing her again. “When they heard you were the Slayer being sent, they could barely contain their excitement. You’re like a legend to them, and the spent the whole day talking about all the battles you’ve won.”
So he had known she was the Slayer that had been sent.
“You knew I was coming?” Buffy asked faintly. He nodded, and she said, “And you stayed? Why?”
“Because then maybe I can actually catch you long enough to talk, since your phone seemed to be constantly out of order.”
She had the decently to blush at that, shrugging awkwardly in the darkened hallway. “Yeah, was thinking about getting that fixed.”
“Buffy….” Charlie started, and she knew at once what he wanted to talk about. Wanted to talk about them. Wanted to talk about her leaving him, walking out on him one day and not returning. Wanting to talk about the events that had destroyed their blossoming relationship. A relationship that, for both of them, seemed right
. A relationship that had both of them considering the idea of someday raising a family together, something Slayers were Not Supposed To Do.
She still had trouble thinking about it, still pushed the ugly events away. She did not want
to remember the fights that had started after Spike and Angel had died, the screaming, the crying, the rage.“Buffy, don’t close me out,” he had pleaded, putting a hand on her shoulder as if she would slip away at any moment. “I can help, we can get through this, I promise…”
Buffy closed her eyes at the sudden memory, putting up her hand to halt his words. “No. Stop. We don’t have time to talk about this right now.”
“There will never be time,” he pointed out firmly, though a slight weariness hid behind his words. He drooped suddenly, sighing. “Is this what you want, Buffy? For us to avoid each other the rest of our lives? To never be able to talk again?”
She could not respond to his words. Her mind screamed that no, that is not what she wanted, she wanted him to be with him, to love him, to have a life with him. Maybe a family. But, as usual, she pushed that away. She would not let herself love him, not love the possibility that existed in their relationship. Opening her heart only meant getting hurt, seeing those she loved die. She could not live through that again. She could not live through allowing herself to entertain the possibility of having a real family, having kids, something she had long thought impossible. Allowing that possibility hurt too much, knowing that one day he too would leave her.
Instead of responding, she stood very still, letting the darkness conceal her face so he could not read the emotions that flitted across. He sighed again and slowly walked back to the main room, leaving her in darkness.
Closing her eyes briefly, she reminded herself she had a battle to win. Shaking herself out of the thoughts that had momentarily threatened to consume her, Buffy reached for the door to the newbie Slayers’ room and slipped inside, shutting the door silently behind her. She had work to do.
Ducking under a curse thrown her way, Buffy lunged towards the masked wizard from whose wand the curse came, throwing an undercut that snapped his head back at the impact. He fell limp to the ground, being rendered unconscious by the blow. Forgetting him as she leapt over his fallen body, she moved onto her next target, a wizard who had already managed to hit one of the newbie Slayers with a curse.
He did not even see Buffy coming as she tackled him to the ground, easily breaking his wand in half before knocking him unconscious.
Briefly, her gaze wandered the battlefield, allowing herself a brief sigh of relief as she saw most of the dragons had been immobilized, most of the vampires dusted, and most of the dark wizards down. Only a few stragglers were left fighting on the field, though those stubborn few would not go out without a ferocious fight. Weariness lined every inch of her body as she pushed herself up from the ground and started towards one of the more vicious dark wizards. The sudden snap of twigs behind her caused her to spin around, just in time to be hit fully by a curse that had her body screaming in agony, her nerves on fire. Her mind tried to force her arms to move, to attack the wizards that smirked down at her as he readied his wand for another curse –
Only to be stopped with a full Body Bind Curse. He toppled to the ground, unable to move, his furious eyes glaring daggers at Buffy as she her body overcame its momentarily weakness and grabbed at his wand, snapping it easily in her hands. Tossing the pieces over her shoulder, she turned to see her rescuer, her heart beating rapidly as she saw Charlie, his wand still raised, a look of utter concentration on his face.
He lowered the wand slightly, his voice a low rumble as he asked, “Are you okay?”
“Takes more than a curse to bring a girl down,” she pointed out with a slight raise of her eyebrow, a smile playing on her lips, a smile she could not hold back. Strange how comfortable she was talking during a battle, to someone who, though she would not admit, she still loved. A sudden movement behind him caught her eye and before he could even blink, she was already behind him, knocking out the vampire attempting to sneak up on Charlie’s turned back. Her spinning kick was enough to knock the vampire back and a quick curse by Charlie had the vampire enveloped in fire, turning to dust before their eyes.
More vampires attacked them and the two worked in tangent together, not realizing how easily their movements flowed with each other, how they unconsciously watched the other’s back, protected the other from any harm.
Taking a moment’s breather from the fight, wiping a bead of sweat from her forehead, Buffy glanced at Charlie, her mouth opening to make some type of quip, some type of witty remark that would make both grin, would keep them from getting too overwhelmed by the battle. A girl’s scream stopped her dead in her tracks.
One of the newbie slayers, a girl who had been called only a few weeks ago and was out on their first major battle, flew through the air, thrown by one of the remaining vampires. She hit the ground, letting out a groan of pain as her arm twisted awkwardly underneath her. So consumed with the pain of a now-broken arm, she failed to recognize the danger she was in, as the single remaining dragon made a beeline towards her.
Buffy only had time to react, her body already in motion, her breathing heavy as she strained to reach the girl in time. She could not let anything happen to a new slayer, not in their first battle. She was not allowed to die. Buffy would not allow that.
She vaguely heard Charlie screaming her name, his voice filled with fear, as she reached the girl and shoved her out of the path of the dragon. The dragon, being hit on all sides by curses, reared back and breathed fire over Buffy, so quickly that she did not have the time to react, to move. Her entire left side was on fire as she fell back to the ground, the sound of a scream sounding as if it were across the battlefield.
It took a moment for her to recognize the scream of agony as hers. Then the world went dark.
The first thing she noticed was the pain.
The bone-crushing, head-splitting, mind-numbing, overwhelmingly awful pain.
She could not remember being in this much pain since she had jumped into the portal to save Dawn, those few years ago. Of course, that event trumped all types of pain, as having bolts of energy shooting through your body, lighting every nerve, really was not something that could be overcome. Still, this was up there with the ow factor.
Her eyes fluttered open, immediately regretting that decision, as the candlelight was much brighter than she remembered. Buffy winced, trying to push herself up as she grumbled that no one seemed to understand that light
were not thing that should be mixed. In fact, all light should be doused until the recently-unconscious was back to their normal, cheery, witty self.
As her eyesight adjusted to the light – the stupid
light – Buffy realized for the first time that someone was sitting next to her. Well, next to the bedroom she currently inhabited. Tilting her head slightly, in order to identify her watcher, hissing slightly at the ache the movement brought, she found herself staring into a deeply concerned set of eyes. Very familiar, chocolate-brown eyes. Eyes that held such a degree of worry that it scared her. She could still read those eyes as easily as she could when they had been dating, now that she was really
looking at him, something she had refused to do earlier.
She did not realize that Charlie still cared. That he still loved her
Averting her gaze, not wanting to see the love she had so foolishly pushed away, she glanced down at the arm and side from which the pain radiated. The arm and the side that, as she vaguely recalled, had actually been on fire. The intensity of which had caused her to pass out, something that was not particularly easy for a Slayer to accomplish. Their bodies could withstand a high threshold of pain, an insurance that they would continue fighting until their opponents were dead. Or they were.
Shaking herself out of those thoughts, she surveyed the damage to her body, which, she supposed, could have been much worse. Though it was hard to say, to tell, when that entire portion of her body was currently swathed in an assortment of bandages. She could have to take them off later, to see how far along the healing was.Guess this just gives me one more thing to say Oh I’ve done that!
, she mused somewhat ruefully, still avoiding Charlie’s gaze. Been drowned, stabbed, electrocuted, beaten to a pulp, been shot at…guess being burnt had to come eventually.
Suddenly, the memories of her last moments in the battle came rushing back to her, hitting her with such force it threatened to overwhelm her. Instead, she swept her sight back to Charlie, her eyes sharp and voice demanding as she asked, “Is she okay? The newbie?”
He nodded, though did not voice any explanation, as if the sudden change in her demeanor caught him by surprise. Any person looking in on them would have assumed it was surprise that kept him from talking.
It was not.
It was the aching of his heart as she stared at the woman he longed to hold, longed to kiss away the wounds and injuries and make her forget about everything but them. It was the sudden change from an uncertain, worried girl he did not recognize to the determined, strong woman he did. The woman he loved deeply and wanted to have a family with, the woman who had shattered his heart when she walked out on him, so broken after finding out about the deaths of Spike and Angel that she could not bear to have her heart broken again.
And in doing so, broke his.
His silence unnerved her, her body and mind so weary she could not push back the flood of emotions that washed over her as well as she usually could, her hand absently playing with the edge of the blanket as she asked in a slightly less harsh tone, “What happened?”
Clearing his throat, forcing himself to talk, he said, his voice stilted, “After you pushed the girl – Erin – out of the way of the dragon, we were able to subdue it long enough to obtain some amount of control. All of the dragons are now on their way to Romania, where we can introduce them to the others already there, in hopes of having to keep from putting them down.”
He continued talking, but Buffy was no longer paying attention. His words swirled through her head, over and over, the words ‘putting them down.’ Putting down the dragons. The dragons that almost killed Erin and had burned her badly enough to warrant time in the makeshift medical room of the cottage. A part of her mind screamed at her, telling her to demand that the dragons were put down. Destroyed. She hated dragons.
Dragons killed Spike and Angel.
She hated dragons. And the man she was dating at the time loved them, cared for them, looked over them, protected them. And she wanted all dragons to die. Not really a great thing for a relationship, for one person to hate what the other loved. She had known as soon as she heard the news that she and Charlie could not stay together. She could not love someone who looked after a creature she hated. She could not open up her heart to shattering, once again.
The sound of her name broke her from her thoughts and she once again caught herself staring into his concerned eyes. She smiled weakly at him and said, “Musta gotten distracted. By my arm. Being all crisp and not like an arm should be does that.”
He did not buy it.
“They aren’t evil,” he said softly, so softly that she had to strain to hear him. “They can be dangerous, but they are not evil. Never evil.”
Buffy’s eyes hardened, her good hand clenching into a fist as she hissed, “They killed Angel. They killed Spike.”
“They were corrupted by the Hellmouth, were being used by the demons that attacked LA. They didn’t realize the destruction they were causing, they couldn’t realize it. You of all people should know the effects of a Hellmouth, even one separated by a little bit of distance, on something, whether beast or human.”
Though she was not exactly Percepto-Girl, even she knew what he was hinting. She had seen first hand the effects of the darkness, the evil, of the Hellmouth on even those with the greatest of intentions. Willow, who never would have touched the black magics if she had been anywhere else. Faith, who never would have fallen so far away from her Calling. Oz, who never would have been as controlled by his beast. The list went on. Even she had been affected. She never would have had as much of a death wish as she had because of the Hellmouth.
But she did not care.
She missed Angel, his support, his constant worry for her, hell, even his broodiness. She missed the snarkiness of Spike, the comebacks he always had for her, the unconditional love he had given. She could never have that back. Ever.
Her eyes burned with unshed tears, tears she had refused to cry upon finding out about the deaths. Even now, almost a year later, she had not allowed herself to cry. To cry would be to accept their deaths. To move on. To open herself up to Charlie’s love, to the pain that could come from that love. Just like it always did.
Gentle hands guided her chin up, so she could no longer avoid his eyes. His fingers were soft as they traced the line of her jaw. “You can’t keep doing this to yourself, Buffy. Holding onto their deaths and keeping yourself from grieving. Everyone is worried about you. I’m worried about you.”
The admission surprised her. “Why? I walked out on you. I left you.”
“I know,” Charlie said, not moving his hand from her chin. “Still doesn’t change anything.”
Her chin trembled at the love behind the words, at the forgiveness in his voice. Reaching up, she took his free hand with her good one, her throat closing up at the familiar feel of his callused hand in hers. Tears trickled down her face as she stared into his eyes. The love reflecting back gave her the courage to say softly, “Do you have some time to talk?”
He nodded before both of them went silent. It would take awhile for her to voice her concerns, her fears. He knew that. But he understood her, better than most.
Maybe there was a future for them. Maybe she could overcome her fears, her hate. Maybe it could work out. She wanted it too, she needed it to.
So she opened her mouth and began to talk.
“This is a bad idea,” Buffy muttered to herself as Charlie helped her limp along down the path, her eyes darting back and forth at the surroundings as if something was going to come out of the woods and attack her. She paused at every sudden noise, every ripple of the wind, every movement of the leaves. “This is a really bad idea.”
He chuckled, favoring her with a stronger grin then any he had given her earlier, both before the battle and after. There was still a tension between the two, one that would take many months, maybe even years to overcome. But they were both willing to try.
Also not helping the tension was the fact both were now standing outside The Burrow, with Buffy knowing his entire family was just on the other side of the door, celebrating the holidays in typical rambunctious fashion. Not that she fully understand that fashion, as she had never met any of the family members before, save a one Harry Potter, but he was technically a brother-in-law, not blood kin. Besides, he understood her to a point, as both knew what it meant to be The Chosen One, the one destined to save their worlds. He got that about her, bonded with her about that, and would not judge her as harsh as the rest of the family could with her leaving Charlie so suddenly and –
“Stop worrying,” he said softly, running a hand through her hair, concentrating solely on her. “It will be fine. Besides, this will be better than spending Christmas alone, since you are still too injured to travel.”
“So that means it’s too late to remember I have a hair appointment?” he asked with a crooked smile, her eyes reflecting her worry as she turned towards the door, staring at it as if it might jump out and bite her.
He shook his head, knocking on the door. The noise from inside the house died down slightly as his knock echoed slightly in the house. Reaching for his hand, her own trembling slightly, the door crashed open, screams and yells and shouts of joy coming from those inside as Charlie and Buffy walked in, Charlie immediately being pulled into hug after hug from the rest of his family. The amount of red hair and freckles and laughter and hugging seemed to overwhelm Buffy as she took a step back from the noise and clutter and family.
Winking at her from the midst of his mother’s hug, Charlie reached back over and grabbed Buffy’s hand, the movement not going unnoticed by the rest of the family.
At the welcoming smiles and words she was given, Buffy began to relax and smile.
Maybe this was not such a bad idea after all.