CHAPTER FORTY: THE CALLING
(For the sake of argument, [and because three of my HP books got knicked and I can’t find out what the real timing is…] I’m having the Hogwarts students gets two weeks break for Christmas. The week before and the week after Christmas Day. Cool?)
Buffy stretched tiredly before snuggling back into the warm arms of Harry, who gently stroked her back as they lay side by side on Buffy’s bed.
“God I love holidays,” Buffy said. “I was getting so burnt out. I somehow managed to transmogrify a rat into a tiger instead of a cat! McGonagall said I was damn lucky that both animals slept through it all. Not to mention that weird ass Serenity Charm that Flitwick had us try. I practically put poor Hermione in a coma! So…uh….what was my point again? Oh, right! Holidays. God I love holidays.”
Harry laughed a little, and pressed a kiss to Buffy’s forehead. When Buffy had relayed the stories of her accidents during lessons, he’d been unable to control his laughter. Ron had almost been rolling on the floor in his laughter. Hermione had, as always, been worried about Buffy’s control of her magic, but Buffy believed it only to be ‘it’s almost holidays’ excitement.
“They do have a certain charm,” he agreed.
“Charm? Harry, it’s holidays! No work, no teachers, no glowering Snape hovering behind us!” Buffy exclaimed.
Harry smiled at her enthusiasm and quickly grabbed Buffy’s waist and straddled her, pining her wrists beside her head. He ducked down to kiss her, and was immediately surprised when Buffy burst into action, flipping them over so that he was on his back.
He laughed and Buffy grinned triumphantly. He struggled but found himself pinned completely beneath her. He thought about their position for a moment before deciding he didn’t really mind.
There was a knock at the door, and the two teens pulled apart reluctantly. The door opened and Harry felt himself blushing bright red.
“Hey Mrs Lanstone,” he greeted Buffy’s mother.
“Hey Sara…what’s the what?” Buffy asked.
Sara smiled knowingly at the two of them. She genuinely liked Harry, even though she’d at first had misgivings about the two teens being together. She knew she couldn’t say anything about it to her daughter, but after seeing the two of them together, she knew that they truly loved each other. Of course, that didn’t mean that she approved of them sleeping together in her house.
Buffy had been completely mortified when Sara had pulled her aside only two days earlier and had requested that Buffy and Harry not sleep together in the house. Buffy had agreed to it, even though she didn’t particularly like the idea, but she could understand it.
“I just thought I’d see if the two of you were interested in going shopping?” Sara asked.
Buffy looked at Harry hopefully. Harry just laughed, knowing his girlfriend’s penchant for shipping. And he couldn’t deny her anything. He nodded and stood up, pulling on his shoes and watching as Buffy scrambled to find a suitable outfit. If Sara hadn’t been there staring at him expectantly, Harry would have been quite content to stay and watch Buffy get changed. He sighed and stood up, leaving Buffy alone to her wardrobe.
“Okay, even I have my limits for shopping,” Buffy said tiredly.
Sara just laughed. “I never thought I’d hear you say that Buffy,” Sara said.
Buffy grinned and teasingly poked her tongue out.
“There’s still a few things I need to get,” Sara said, looking at the shops. She glanced at her daughter who really was looking sick of shopping. She spotted a park across the road and pointed it out to Buffy.
“Perhaps you and Harry could do with a break,” Sara suggested.
“Ohh, we can relive our kiddie years,” Buffy said, spotting the empty swing-set.
“I shouldn’t be too long. A half hour at most,” Sara said.
Buffy nodded and they went in two separate direction, Harry taking hold of Buffy’s hand as they made their way into the park. The two young Gryffindors sat on the swings, gently swaying back and forth as they took in the sun that was beginning to set on the horizon.
“Are you excited about tomorrow?” Harry asked.
Buffy grinned and nodded. “Yeah,” she replied. “I am. Faith’s turned out to be a pretty good friend, and…well, even though neither of them really do the whole Christmas thing, it’ll be good to see them both again. It was nice of Will to put Christmas Eve dinner forward two days so that we could still go to the Yule Ball.”
Harry smiled at Buffy’s enthusiasm. “And Tara will be there as well?”
“Yup. I can’t believe they’re…well…together,” Buffy said. “It’s kinda…surreal. But good. Very brave. I can’t believe how right they are together. They just seem to fit.”
“Kind of like us,” Harry said.
Buffy smiled and pushed her swing sideways and grabbed onto the chains of Harry’s, pulling him to a stop, their knees touching.
“Yeah,” she whispered, kissing him softly. “Like us. They’ve got that whole ‘them against the world’ thing that we’ve got.”
Harry smiled and kissed her again. He loved the feeling he had whenever he was with his girlfriend. It was that feeling of certainty that nothing could go wrong, that nothing could hurt them. They’d gone through so much together and come out of it even stronger than before. He knew with certainty that there was nothing that could tear them apart.
“Love you,” he whispered.
Buffy smiled and placed her arms around Harry’s neck, luxuriating in the absolute contentment she felt around him. “Love you too.”
They lost themselves in their kisses, letting the world fall away from them, both of them content to have only one other person exist for them. They stilled when they heard someone subtly cough in front of them. Buffy sighed and let her lips linger on Harry’s for a moment before pulling away completely.
In front of them stood a man in his late thirties, attired in a suit and tie, though the top button of his shirt was undone, giving him a more casual look. His hair was a dark brown that had been spiked with gel, and he looked more than just a little nervous.
“Elizabeth Riddle?” he asked.
“Yeah…hi! What?” Buffy asked.
The man cleared his throat. “May I…could I perhaps have a moment of your time?” he asked.
Buffy’s eyes narrowed. “Are you from the Ministry?” she asked.
“Ministry? What Ministry?” he asked.
Buffy breathed a sigh of relief. The man’s confusion was genuine, and Buffy knew that he had no idea what she was talking about.
“Well…if you’re not from the Ministry, who are you?” she asked.
The man glanced in Harry’s direction, but Harry just stared back at him, almost defiantly. The young wizard knew that the man wanted a moment alone with Buffy, but there was no way that Harry was leaving Buffy alone with some stranger.
“Look, anything you have to say can be said in front of Harry,” Buffy said, noticing the exchange between Harry and the man in the suit.
The man nodded nervously. “I uh…my name’s Dominic Wood.”
Buffy waited for him to say more, but he paused. She looked at him expectantly. “And? What do you want with me?”
“You have to come with me,” Dominic said seriously. “You’re one of the few who can stop them.”
“Stop them?” Buffy asked, feeling a strange sense of déjà vu.
“The Vampires,” Dominic explained.
Buffy stood up, the swing flying wildly as she leapt to her feet.
“This isn’t funny,” she said quietly, her voice dropping to a low and threatening tone.
“It’s not supposed to be,” he replied. “You are the Chosen One. Miss Riddle…you’re the Slayer.”
Buffy’s jaw dropped.
To be continued in ‘A Wizard’s Slayer’.