CHAPTER SEVEN: GREETING
When the trio finally stepped back, they all needed the use of tissues and handkerchiefs, wiping their eyes dry and sharing grins. Joyce took hold of her daughter’s hand and pulled her in for a one-armed hug.
“So…this is your dad. Only…really this time,” Joyce said.
Buffy smiled and grinned at Sirius who grinned back at her. Sirius had a look of complete contentment on his face and Joyce felt her heart melt all over again at the sight of him. He’d always been handsome, and even twelve years in Azkaban hadn’t taken that away from him.
“It’s so good to see you both again,” Sirius said. “I never thought I’d get the chance.”
They sat down on the couch, Joyce sitting between Sirius and Buffy, each of them holding one of Joyce’s hands, and their own fingers grazing slightly.
Buffy could feel the familiar tingling at the back of her neck, and for the first time, she felt complete in her family life. She could feel the absolute adoration between Joyce and Sirius, and she wondered how she could ever have thought that Joyce and Hank truly loved each other. They’d never been close, and Buffy could see why her mom had never allowed herself to love so completely ever again.
“How did you get out of Azkaban? Did the Ministry find Peter?” Joyce asked.
Sirius’ eyes darkened considerably and he shook his head. “I escaped,” he admitted.
Joyce gasped and she looked at her (ex) husband in shock. “How? It’s impossible to escape from there.”
Sirius shook his head. “The Dementors take your happy memories from you, but…the memory that it wasn’t me that killed my best friends wasn’t a happy one. It was just a memory, a fact that I could focus on. And then when I saw this picture of Peter…well, I found a new focus. And, when I was in animagus form, the Dementors weren’t anywhere near as effective.”
Buffy raised her hand slightly. “Three questions: one, what’s Azkaban? Two, what’s a Dementor, and three, what’s an animagus?”
“Azkaban is the wizarding prison. A Dementor is the guard at the prison. They’re a type of dark creature that feeds of people’s happiest memories. If you’re in there for long enough, you’ll eventually forget who you are, why you’re there. You’re just stuck with all of your unhappiest memories and no reason to survive.”
Buffy shuddered at the thought of them. She had enough unhappy memories as it was without taking away all the happiest ones. –Close your eyes-
“And an animagus,” Sirius continued, snapping Buffy away from her morbid thoughts, “is someone who can magically transfigure themselves into a type of animal.”
“Like that whole dog thing,” Buffy said.
Sirius nodded. “Back in school, my friends called me Padfoot.”
“Cute,” Buffy commented.
Sirius smirked and looked back at his (ex) wife.
“The boy in the picture is best friends with Harry,” Sirius commented.
Joyce’s eyes lit up at the name. “Oh god, Harry. How is he? Dumbledore said he wanted him to go to Lily’s side of the family?” Joyce had always felt somewhat guilty about not taking Harry with her when they’d fled England. Dumbledore however had told them that she couldn’t.
“He’s living with the Dursley’s,” Sirius said, spitting out the name with disgust. “Lily’s sister and her husband have been raising him. And I use that term loosely. They’re absolutely horrid. The worst kind of muggles.”
“You guys are gonna hafta buy me a wizards dictionary or something, cos you’re just confusing me here,” Buffy complained. “What’s a muggle?”
“A non-magical person,” Joyce explained. “How I was trying to raise you.”
Buffy laughed a little. “Fat lot of good it did,” she commented wryly. “I guess I was meant to always be a little supernatural.”
Sirius nodded and stared at his petite daughter. She’d inherited the slighter stature from Joyce’s side of the family for sure. Most of the Potter’s had been slightly smaller than average. Sirius had noticed that Harry was ever so slightly shorter than his friend Hermione.
“I can’t believe you’re the Slayer,” Sirius commented. “When Dumbledore told me…I was blown away. A Slayer…and on the hellmouth!”
Joyce looked at her daughter sharply. “Hellmouth?”
Buffy winced and Sirius smiled apologetically.
“It’s a supernatural con-”
“Convergence of mystical energy,” Joyce finished for her. “I know what they are, I just…I never realised we were on one. Perhaps that’s why I felt drawn here. Even when I was trying to get away from it all, I still ended up in the thick of it.”
Sirius hesitated for a moment before summoning his courage. He hadn’t really considered what his plans would be after reuniting with his daughter, but now that he was back with his wife as well, it was an added bonus. The problem now was that he was needed in England.
“Joi…how would you feel about coming back to it?” Sirius asked cautiously. “Being back in the wizarding world? I have a feeling that they’re going to need all the help they can get soon. Voldemort’s gaining power, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s completely restored in the next few years. Dumbledore’s going to need help destroying him completely, and I believe that we can help.”
Joyce looked completely shocked by the request. Buffy stared at her mother, trying to read the expressions on her face. The initial reaction had been one of curiousity, and then of worry. When Joyce turned to look at her daughter, Buffy knew that the decision would rest with her.
The Slayer quickly thought over what her options would really be. She didn’t want to hold her parents back. She may not have understood anything about what Sirius had just said about Voldemort, but it sounded as though it was dire. Not to mention the fact that she’d been expelled from Sunnydale High, and no doubt, Principal Snyder would never let her return.
But then there was the Slaying. Granted, things had slowly been slowing down lately, after Angelus’ defeat, and Spike and Drusilla fleeing town. But if she left Sunnydale, it would be completely unguarded except for the Scoobies.
And then she remembered. She was no longer the only Chosen One. There would be another. With Kendra’s death, another would be Called, and it would be possible for the new Slayer to look after the hellmouth. As long as she could talk the Council in allowing her to relocate to England, which she didn’t think they would mind seeing as the Council was based in England, she knew her answer.
“Buffy?” Joyce asked.
The Slayer breathed in deeply and grinned at her parents. “When do we leave?”
Sirius and Joyce grinned at each other and kissed once more. After several seconds, Buffy couldn’t help but laugh at the sight of her parents happiness. She coughed exaggeratedly and watched in amusement as they broke apart.
“One more question…who or what is Voldemort?”