Shovels and Snakes
May 7, 2005 7:15 PM
Buffy looked down at the slip of paper Daisy had given her. It had the address to Giles' lady friend. She'd mumbled a quick excuse about shopping to Willow when she used her floo and arrived in the pub. The lunch crowd was busting through, so Buffy was able to sneak out the front without being noticed or questioned. Willow had blushed when telling her about Mac's older brother who owned the place.
The door stood before her and she knocked, hoping that the woman was actually home.
Teddy opened the door. "Did you want a room? Come inside. I'll get my grandma. Don't try to get upstairs, the wards will fry you."
When the door first opened and someone started speaking, Buffy had no idea who was actually talk to her. She blinked a few times then looked down. There was a little boy in the doorway.
"Um, I'm not here for a room and I'm not hungry, especially for anything fried. I'm here to speak to..." she looked down to consult her piece of paper, "Andromeda?"
Buffy narrowed her eyes. He was little short with her. Maybe they were evil, tiny bodyguards. She'd seen stranger things. "Because I want to talk to her. Do I need an appointment or something?"
"That's my grandma. I have a right to question you."
"Theodore Remus Lupin, I have not raised you to be so rude. Do let Miss Summers inside."
Andromeda walked from the kitchen wiping her hands with a dishtowel. "Hello, Buffy. Is everything all right?"
"Huh?" she said, still trying to absorb the fact that while Giles wasn't exactly doing cartwheels down the hallways, he was still old enough to be, and date, a grandparent. "Oh, no, everything's fine. Well, sort of. I just needed to talk to you about some things."
She looked at the little boy still staring up at her. "That is, if that's all right with your guard dog."
"This is my daughter's son Teddy. Teddy, this is Buffy. She's one of Mr. Giles' slayers. Why don't you go out back and play until supper is ready?"
"You're welcome to stay for supper, Buffy. It's nothing fancy. Just stew, but there will be plenty."
All the talk about how badass this woman was kept making her paranoid. "There won't be any body parts in it, will there? Or eyes of salamander or anything?"
Andromeda started laughing "Have you been talking to Draco? Where on earth would you get that idea? Just potatoes, carrots, celery and onions with beef chunks in beef stock with a bit of seasoning. Bay leaf, pepper and sea salt mostly, no salamander eyes."
"Oh," she said lightly. "Well then sure I'll stay. Although I do think I need to get this out before you feed me. Hurt Giles in any way, even a papercut, and I'll beat so hard with a shovel they won't recognize the pieces."
Andromeda just grinned at her. "Is that it? I mean, not that it was not sufficient, but no arms out of the sockets or anything?"
She had flipped that switch within her that turned her into a Black. Threats were a sign of affection.
Buffy made a face. "I sort of insinuated that I would do the general hitting with a shovel thing because according to three reliable sources, you're bound to fly off the handle if I do anything else, and I'd really hate to put Giles in the awkward position of having to pick one of us because we bitch easily."
"Your beating theory is contingent upon the assumption that you could actually get close enough to me to hit me with the shovel. I do know you are quite physically strong, so it would be in my best interest to be quick enough to not let you get within striking distance. Trust me when I say I don't wish to find out which one of us is the quicker."
Buffy chuckled. "It would so be me. I haven't died twice to be shot down by a grandma. No offense," she quickly said.
"None taken. I didn't grow up a Black to be taken out by a super Muggle. Blacks are escape artists by nature, and I had a lot of practice dodging my older sister, but I don't plan on hurting Rupert."
"Good," she replied, nodding firmly. "Now that that's taken care of, I have some questions about Willow, and Giles said you'd be a good person to ask. Should I wait until after dinner?"
"Join me in the kitchen. We can talk in there."
Andromeda walked into the kitchen.
"Is something wrong? Willow's been doing well lately. She's a bit drawn in, but that's her worry. She worries too much. Specifically about what you, Rupert and Xander think of her."
"Well she's never around enough for me to think of her, actually. She claims that she's losing herself and she won't come near me or the other slayers. She won't tell me what I can do to help, and I'm at a stalemate with her. Is there anything I can do?"
"Do what I do - don't allow her to avoid you. She gets so frightened of you. I think that's one of the reasons she befriended Draco. He's easier for her. You're not easy. You knew her when she was sweet. You remember that Willow, the Willow she can never be again. Draco never new that girl. Just as it's easy for him to befriend all of you now because you didn't know him as a boy. They have like pains. Willow worries about failing you again."
Buffy rolled her eyes. "The girl is super smart, but she's a complete idiot sometimes. I'll just spring surprise movie nights and shopping trips on her. I can be obnoxious when I want."
"That phrasing sounds very familiar. It's a pity you and Draco did not work out. You're very much alike. Then again, that could have been the problem."
"I think we're both kind of disappointed, because the build up was fun but the results were... non-existent. We've kind of fallen into the roles of snippy siblings, which I'm sure will be equally annoying."
Andromeda lifted the top off of the giant pot she was making the stew in and Buffy leaned in to smell. "Oh yummy. Even if if it did have lizard eyes, I think I still might eat that. Smells delicious."
"It's one of the few things I can make. Stew is easy. Put things in a pot, season them and cook them until they are edible. The other thing I can do is pasta and salad."
Buffy snorted. "It's better than my sister, Dawn. She doesn't even bother with the edible part."
"Willow's mentioned Dawn's unique kitchen experiments. I understand she is studying at Oxford. You must be very proud."
"My first year of college a demon-human-android thing tried to kill my boyfriend and my friends in a secret lab underneath my campus." Buffy grabbed a bit of bread lying nearby to munch on. "So yeah, I'm happy the Dawnie's at a semi-normal place instead of the alternatives."
"Well, Teddy will just love your stories. Please leave the blood and guts out. He's already too bloodthirsty for barely seven."
"I can keep them G-rated, promise. I had to do the same for my mother so she wouldn't freak out."
Andromeda smiled and called Teddy inside. He stepped up on his little stool to wash his hands before seating himself at the little table. He was looking at Buffy curiously. Andromeda had to hide her snicker at the look on Buffy's face when he suddenly took on her blonde hair and hazel eyes.
Buffy's eye widened. For a moment, she just stared but quickly shook her head. Maybe it was a trick of the light, because there was no way the boy's hair and eye colored changed. "Um, hi. So, you're related to Draco. How's that working out for you?"
At the mention of Draco's name, Teddy's hair went platinum and his eyes went gray. Andromeda chuckled.
"He's all right," Teddy said. "I like teaching him how to play stuff. He didn't know how at first."
"Okay, tell me I'm not going insane and this kid really just changed his looks," she asked, pointing to Teddy.
Teddy giggled and changed his hair to the dark brown of his grandmother's.
"Teddy's a Metamorphmagus," Andromeda explained. "His mother was one as well. He can manipulate his appearance. He's still young, so he can only change his coloring. His mother was eleven before she could do more than that. Nymphadora was quite fond of pink hair. Really she looked a lot like my cousin Sirius - black hair and blue eyes. Teddy takes after his father Remus. He naturally had blue eyes and sandy hair."
"That is so nifty," Buffy said. "I'm so jealous, but not about the pink hair. Pink is better on my clothes than on my skin. Can you do rainbow?"
Teddy appeared to consider then squeezed his eyes shut. His hair took on rainbow colors. Andromeda laughed as she ladled out stew for the three of them. This was not going to be as bad as she thought originally.