CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE: THE END
“This feels so strange,” Harry commented, grinning wryly at his friends.
“What feels strange?” Ron asked, completely confused.
Harry just grinned even more as he looked around the table, the Gryffindors celebrating their win against the Ravenclaw Quidditch Team. The entire table of Gryffindors were grinning madly, talking loudly, and making Snape scowl dangerously from the Professors table at the front of the Great Hall.
“This,” Harry replied, gesturing to their group. “Us, just sitting here.”
Ron looked at his best friend, trying to work out if Harry had gone mad in the last few hours, and how he had missed it.
“It feels pretty normal to me mate,” Ron replied.
Hermione rolled her eyes, and shared a glance with Buffy that said only one thing: ‘boys!’. Buffy grinned and nodded her sympathy.
“I think what Harry’s trying to say is that it feels strange to feel so…well, normal,” Hermione explained.
Harry nodded, grinning at Hermione in thanks, and putting an arm around Buffy’s waist, drawing her closer to him.
“It’s been two weeks and nothing even remotely exciting has happened,” Harry explained.
“You’re just too used to leading an exciting life,” Buffy replied sagely. “I mean, you had to deal with Voldemort for five years before we kicked his ass to hell, and then we had to deal with the Slytherins in all their evilness.”
Draco just rolled his eyes and gave his cousin a small shove good-naturedly. Ginny reached across and thwacked Draco’s shoulder, eliciting a yelp from the platinum blonde boy, and a prompt kiss from Ginny to make up for hurting him. This of course was followed by a glare from Ron, who was then hit by Hermione, making Ron yelp, and forcing Hermione to kiss her boyfriend.
“And now that we managed to survive the First, I’d say we’re in for at least five months of beautiful nothingness,” Buffy finished.
“Why only five months?” Ginny inquired curiously.
“Because in five months we’ll be back for a new year at Hogwarts,” Hermione answered. “And between the lot of us, we’ll most likely end up in bucket loads of trouble.”
“Our final year at Hogwarts,” Ron commented thoughtfully. “It doesn’t feel like it’s already been six years.”
“Feels more like two to me,” Buffy grinned.
“Five for me,” Ginny added.
“Ha bloody ha,” Ron replied, glaring at his younger sister and his best friend’s girlfriend.
“Well, we still have to make it through exams first,” Hermione said.
The rest of the group groaned, drawing the immediate attention of Neville, Seamus and Dean who’d been having a play-by-play discussion of the recently ended Quidditch match.
“We’re groaning, why?” Dean asked.
“Exams,” Harry, Ron, Buffy, Draco and Ginny all replied, they’re voices tinged with the excitement they felt. None.
The three new-comers to the conversation all rolled their eyes.
“At least we don’t have to go through the OWL’s again,” Neville commented. “Those were awful.”
“Thanks Neville,” Ginny spoke up, glaring daggers at the shyest Gryffindor boy. “Real supportive.”
Neville tried sputtering out an apology, much to the amusement of the rest of the group. Ginny finally cracked, and broke into a smile, Neville sighing with relief as he realised he wasn’t in too much trouble after all.
“So, tomorrow’s a Hogsmeade weekend,” Seamus spoke up, grinning with enthusiasm. “Are you lot all coupling up, or are we all going to get butterbeers at the Three Broomsticks?”
“Butterbeers,” they all replied, excluding Buffy and Harry.
“Whilst coupling,” Ginny added. She grinned off their looks and shrugged innocently. “What, I can’t multi-task?”
“What about you two?” Neville asked, noticing that Buffy and Harry hadn’t answered.
“We’re visiting my mother,” Buffy replied, somewhat nervously. “I’m gonna do the whole ‘guess what, I’m a Slayer’ thing. Harry’s gonna provide moral support.”
Draco, Hermione and Ron all grimaced at the thought of Buffy telling her mother the truth about her semi-new role as the Slayer. They’d all been informed about the fallout from Buffy telling Joyce Summers about who she was and what she did, and they didn’t want to imagine what would happen if Sara Lanston had a similar reaction.
“You’ll be fine,” Draco said reassuringly. “Aunt Sara already knows about all things magical, so at least she’ll be somewhat prepared for it. Just don’t start the conversation with ‘anybody slain some vampires lately?’”
Buffy rolled her eyes as the others snickered slightly.
“Dominique’s gonna be there for the Watcher-y side of things as well,” Buffy added, trying to ignore her cousin. “Just so she doesn’t think I’m a nut-job or anything. And Giles said he’d come with as well.”
“Ah, Buff, I don’t think Professor Giles going with you to Aunt Sara’s is necessarily about moral support,” Draco said hesitantly.
Buffy looked at him blankly, and Draco smirked slightly, loving the adorable cluelessness of his cousin.
“Professor Giles…how can I put this delicately…well, he fancies your mum,” Draco said.
Buffy’s jaw dropped. “What?!” she screeched. Anybody within a ten-foot radius all turned to see what had caused the sudden outburst, and Buffy coloured slightly, ducking her head and burrowing into Harry’s shoulder. Harry just grinned and dropped a gentle kiss on top of Buffy’s head.
“Sorry to break it to you Buff, but our DADA Professor is completely in love with your mum,” Draco spelt out.
Buffy looked completely shocked, and the others within the group were craning their necks to get a better look at their Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor, as though looking at him while he was eating dinner would explain any and all mysteries regarding him.
Giles noticed the scrutiny, but was completely unaware of the context. Regardless, his cheeks flamed slightly, uncomfortable with the sudden attention from Buffy’s friends. He looked to see his young charge with her own red cheeks, looking as though she was trying to melt into the fabric of Harry’s robes. Giles just shook his head, but was thankful when everyone’s attention was brought back to the Gryffindor table and away from himself.
“No way,” Buffy whispered softly. “Where was I when this was happening?”
“Ahhh, getting to know your mum I think,” Draco replied. “It wasn’t all that obvious, it’s just…well, I’m a bloke, and I can see these things about other blokes.”
“Well, what about my mom?” Buffy asked curiously. “Is she into him?”
Draco shrugged. “Like I said, I can only tell with other males. Buggered if I can ever tell what a female is thinking.”
“That’s just…wow, that’s really weird,” Buffy said quietly.
“It’s good though isn’t it?” Harry asked. “I mean, your mum and Giles? She’s your mother, and you always say that Giles is like your real dad. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing.”
Buffy paused momentarily, considering Harry’s words. She finally nodded and gave Harry a soft smile.
“This is why I keep you around,” she teased gently. “To make sure my head’s on straight.”
“My pleasure,” Harry replied, leaning in to kiss her softly.
The group rolled their eyes in complete unison as Harry and Buffy drifted into their own little world, kissing each other softly, oblivious to their audience, or the impatience of their spectators.
“How many times do I have to tell you guys,” Seamus complained loudly, “get a room for Merlin’s sake!”
Buffy and Harry broke apart grinning.
“I think we can control ourselves this time Shay,” Buffy replied.
“So, Harry mate, when’s the wedding gonna be?” Dean teased, expecting the couple to begin to blush and stammer out an explanation.
It was to the groups complete and utter surprise when both the Slayer and the Boy-Who-Lived turned to them with serious expressions and replied in synchronous: “The day after we graduate.”
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