DISCLAIMER: I own nothing (except maybe the challenge), Joss owns Spike and Buffy, and Rowling owns Ginny and Tom Riddle/Voldemort. I am only playing with the characters. So don't sue me!EDIT: Just a slight edit -- hopefully made the visual a bit more reader-friendly as well as moved around some of the dialogue.
Yes, I am again answering my own challenge. Not very original of me, I know, but I can't help it. And hey, this time it's a fic! I spent most of my shift at work outlining this little one-shot. And it will
be a one-shot. Hopefully. *crosses fingers* In response to Challenge 4123.
- Definitely post-Chosen, Spike has been resurrected but instead of hanging around the Poof, decided to hitch hike to wherever Buffy and Dawn might be (in this case, the main house of Slayer Central, Cleveland branch).
- Definitely post-DH, with everything canon, except Harry and Ginny are not together: they broke it off at some point, and Ginny is now interested in dating Spike. In my world, Harry is dating Dawn (I love that pairing).
It has been revealed to the Scoobies that Tommy Summers is not who he appears to be, and is, in fact, the reincarnated Lord Voldemort. What's a Wizarding witch to do when confronted by the Dark Lord's new family?
Buffy took another dish from the dirty pile on the counter, dunking it into the soapy, warm water. She gave it a good scrub, pulled it out from the sponge and looked at it critically. No food spots, no more drying iridescent orange splotches...giving her shoulders a shrug, she held it under the faucet, rinsing it thoroughly. Humming slightly off-key, she dried it with a dancing-apple-covered dish towel and stuck it on the dish rack.
"Where's Spike?" The voice came from behind her. Soft and lilting, it had grown more than a little familiar over the past two weeks. As had the accompanying red-head with warm brown eyes and a twitchy wand.
"That way," she replied, raising her shoulder, indicating toward a small hallway. She tossed a grin over her shoulder, eyes smiling in greeting. "He's telling Tommy a bedtime story. You can go in, if you want."
At the look on Ginny's face, she hastened to reassure her. "It's nothing bad," she said, trying to explain. She blew a strand of sticky blond hair from her face. "Just run of the mill no-more-marshmallows-in-the-cupboard stuff."
Ginny Weasley, three years graduated from Hogwarts and the current liaison between the New Watcher's Council and the Ministry of Magic, remained rooted to the spot. "That's alright," she replied, licking her lips quickly. "I'll just wait out here, it wouldn't be polite to interrupt."Right. And Spike's a natural blond.
Buffy turned back to her dishes, narrowing her eyes as she scrubbed a little harder at some pesky food grime. Ick, Andrew, no more curry. At least, no more curry when it's my turn to clean up.
From the corner of her eye, she noticed how the other woman was leaning against the counter, arms folded across her chest, casting an exasperated glance toward the alcove every so often. The last dish scrubbed, rinsed, dried, and put away, Buffy dried her hands, turning and puttering around the kitchen to make herself some cocoa.
As she reached for a mug, she was suddenly overwhelmed by a sense of completion. Here she was, one of the last true Chosen, destined for a brutal, bloody, lonely death, using the phrase puttering around her kitchen.
Not worrying about the end of the world, not worrying about getting through each day, not worrying about training schedules or duty rosters or international bank accounts...
It wasn't quite like Heaven, not that anything ever could be, but where she was right now was the closest she had ever been. Reaching in to a cupboard and choosing a mug at random, she rolled her eyes at her choice. Darth Vader's helmet as a coffee mug. Great, Andrew was going to be more than annoying if he found out his mug had been used. She shrugged, pulling it out. It was one of the bigger ones, anyway. A tap-tap-tapping caught her attention. The Weasley girl was getting bored, tapping her nails on the counter. Buffy smiled, her teeth showing slightly. This could be interesting.
"You know," she said, opening a cupboard and retrieving the cocoa mix, "Spike talks about you a lot." She felt the the redhead witch's zero in on her immediately.
"Oh, yeah." Buffy had to suppress a smile as she turned around, facing Ginny's direction as she rooted in a drawer for a spoon. "He talks about how hot you are, how you're so funny, so smart, so good at magic -- it's enough to give a girl a complex. Then he talks about how hard you work, restoring that school of yours, and that thing with the Minnie people, the thing with the war orphans - Witchy, Wedgy, or maybe it was Woogie..."
""It's W.O.G.I," Ginny said, looking pleased. "The War Orphans Group Initiative."
"Yeah, that. And then he talks about how good
you are with your nieces and nephews." Buffy mixed together the cocoa mix and water, setting it in the microwave to heat up. Once it dinged, she took the mug in her hands, cradling it gently, taking a little sip.
about all this?" Ginny asked, her voice incredulous.
"Well, he complains about it, really," Buffy amended, leaning against the counter. She took another sip from her cocoa. "Says that it keeps you away from him, you know how he is."
The two women shared a knowing smirk. Buffy broke first, moving to sit at the table and looking down at her mug. "So, I have to ask myself, why does someone who so obviously loves kids make like a tree the second my little brother walks into a room?" When Buffy looked up, it was to see a strange, half-twisted expression on Ginny's face. Her voice grew softer. "What do you think, Ginny?"
The redhead looked frozen where she stood, her face caught between horror, shame, and fury. The kitchen was silent for a moment as Buffy waited patiently for the other woman to answer. Tick, tock. Tick, tock.
The kitchen clock chimed softly in the background, visibly startling Ginny back to the present.
"I think," she said in a low voice, "That same person might have a very good reason to hate someone who raped their mind for almost a year, someone who murdered and tortured and violated every shred of decency, someone who nearly destroyed that same person's family and friends, and the families of those friends, their boyfriends, their girlfriends, their brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers, so many dead and buried too soon."
Ginny was visibly near tears, her face as red as her hair. "That thing," she spat, her gaze nearly blistering the paint on the hallway doors, "That thing should be dragged out and Avada Kedavra-ed without a second's thought. Why are you all protecting him? Why are you pretending that he isn't what he is? You fight evil, just go 'off with his head' or something!"
The redhead slumped back against the counter, looking slightly stunned. Buffy had to wait a few minutes to regain her sorely tested temper. It didn't matter that she knew the witch was justified, the kid was her baby brother! She took a deep breath, setting her mug on the table and leaning forward, being sure to keep her eyes focused on Ginny. "Now you listen, and you listen good. In that room is a ten-year-old little boy with no memory of ever being to the Land of Tweed, let alone being born there, raised there, or becoming its very own homicidal maniac bent on world domination."
"But why don't you care
?" Poor Ginny looked like her eyes were about to pop out of her skull. Geez, some cheese with that wine, much?
"Of course I care, you twit," she snapped. "I don't want
my brother to become the next Dark Lord, but even if he does, I can't stop loving him. He's my brother, he's family. We've all gone Dark before, but most importantly, we came back. What makes you think a little bit of love might not have made a difference the first time around?"
Ginny's mouth, hanging far lower than Buffy had thought possible, snapped shut, and, thankfully, the redhead looked like she was finally, finally
, giving what everyone had tried telling her some thought.
Buffy leaned forward, hoping to nudge the Brit in the right direction. "Tell me a kid who's afraid of carousels is the next Big Bad. Tell me this Dark Lord would collect demon butterflies because they're prettier than normal ones, that he'd feed his pet snake tofu because he hated mi-"
"Ah!" Ginny had stood up, pointing a finger. "A pet snake! Evil!"
"He fed her tofu," she repeated, rolling her eyes. "Hissy went to that Great Summer Camp in the sky and hasn't come back yet. And hello, I dated a vampire. Two vampires, even, so what does that say about me?" She wrinkled her eyebrows for a moment, before retorting, "I dated the vampire you want
to date, the one who used to torture his victims with a railroad spike
, so what does that say about you?"
Buffy almost felt sorry for the witch. She looked so lost sitting at the big kitchen table, a torn, half-despairing look on her face that reminded Buffy of Tommy as they had watched their mother's casket be lowered into the ground. The blond choked back a gasp, quickly standing and rinsing out her mug. Why couldn't anything be normal with her family?
As she passed where Ginny sat, still wearing that woebegone expression, she sighed. "Here's a tip when dating Spike. Lesson the second: Don't insult family."
Ginny looked up, startled. She appeared to ponder that one for a moment before looking up. "What's the first?"
"Don't mess with his kittens." Buffy smiled at look on the other woman's face. "Trust me, it's a thing."
"And Ginny..." she trailed off, uncertain. "No one ever really deserves a second chance. But everyone needs it. It's something that can't be bought, can't be earned...it has to be given. And until you see that Tommy Summers is not Lord Voldemort, you will never have yours."
The redhead bit her lip, twining a lock of her red hair around her finger, pulling it taut and loosening, pulling it taut and loosening. "I...I want to be with Spike, more than I don't want to be around T-T-Tommy," she said finally, her already pale skin now completely ashen.
"Good," said Buffy, leaning back against the counter. "There might be hope for the two of you, after all."
You know, I actually wanted this to be my first FFA, but someone had already taken my Spike/Ginny pairing. So, I went back and looked to see if I could pair her with Xander, then checked Andrew, then Oz....heck, I even tried it as a non-romantic Buffy/Ginny moment, and dang if Little Miss Weasley hasn't been popular. Oh well. Maybe another time.