Chapter 3: Farewells
So I fudged Buffy’s age a bit. I didn’t really like the idea of her being older. In this, consider Buffy being called at age 12, and currently age 14. Thus we have the beginning of Buffy Season 2 and the beginning of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (pretty sure that makes them the same age).Chapter 3: Farewells
Giles was introspective; his eyes far away and his mind turned inwards. Buffy was inhaling her Extra-Extra-Large Mocha through a straw at a rate that would normally have had her Watcher come up with something suitably British and stuffy to scold her. She wondered if you had to say ‘British and stuffy’, or if just saying British made it stuffy automatically. Probably.
She started when the doorbell rang, and Giles went to go answer it.
“Joyce, do come in please.”
“Rupert. I wish I could say it was nice to see you.”
“Yes, well, all will be made clear shortly. Would you care for some tea?”
“No thank you.”
Ugh. If Buffy had to choose between yelling and this painfully polite conversation she’d choose the yelling. Or maybe just punching – everything could be fixed by punching, since she was generally the best at that sort of thing.
Giles sat beside Buffy, while Joyce settled on the couch across from them. Buffy noted that her mother was sitting with her back absolutely straight – a bad sign. She sighed and waved her hand at Giles. “Ok, let’s do this little ‘show and tell’ so that my mom can stop hating me.”
Joyce interrupted. “I don’t hate you Buffy, though I’m very disappointed in you.” She eyed the burnt streaks on the wall and shook her head. “And also completely confused and worried.”
“I believe I can explain what is going on to your satisfaction, Joyce.” He reached over to the fireplace and pulled out a metal poker. He handed it to Joyce, who took it without becoming less confused.
“Try and bend that, please.” He saw Joyce begin to lose her temper. “Humor me, please.”
Joyce shook her head but made an attempt at twisting the iron bar. “Ok, it’s a poker.”
“Good, now hand it to Buffy. Buffy, please bend that for me.”
Buffy took the bar and effortlessly bent it into a circle, then handed it back to her mom, who took it looking more confused than ever.
“As you can see, Buffy is a great deal more capable than an ordinary girl. Last night’s fire-related episode is also related to her increased strength.”
Joyce just stared. “What...why...I don’t understand. Buffy, how did you get to be so strong?”
Buffy shrugged. “Magic.”
Joyce stared at her. “Magic.”
Buffy nodded. “Yep. Giles can explain it better – he knows all this magic stuff.”
Joyce switched her attention to the Englishman. “Rupert what the hell is going on?”
“Well, as Buffy said she has begun to exhibit signs of magical ability – such as the accidental fire she set in your home yesterday when she was distressed. As I have experience in these issues Buffy came to see me, as has become her habit since you’ve moved to Sunnydale.”
“You have experience with...magic?”
“To put it bluntly, I am a wizard.”
“Right. A wizard. Look, Rupert, Buffy is confused enough on her own without you giving her stories. I don’t really understand what’s going on here, but I do know that you’re obviously a bad influence on her. Come on Buffy, you’re coming home and we’re getting you some help.”
Giles took his wand out of his jacket. “I see I shall have to convince you.” He pointed his wand at the twisted poker Buffy had placed on the table. “Geminio!” Immediately an identical twisted poker appeared beside it. Giles picked up the copy and handed it to Joyce. “Magic is quite real, I assure you.”
Joyce took the metal rod, again trying to bend it. “Well...I don’t really know what to say.”
Buffy was eying the poker in Joyce’s hands. “Giles, I have some money I need you to make copies of.”
Giles snorted. “That would be completely unethical, not even considering that duplicates from that spell tend to disappear after three or four hours.”
Buffy pouted. “I could do a lot of shopping in three or four hours.”
Joyce shook her head. “No, Buffy. I will not have my daughter become a counterfeiter.”
Buffy’s pout became more pronounced. “Meanies. Think of the shoes!”
Giles shook his head. “Right. Joyce, Buffy has begun exhibiting indicators of magical ability, although the flames are quite a surprise and not at all usual. I cannot stress how important it is that she learns to control her new abilities.”
“Ok. Can you teach her?”
“While I can start her education, I am not qualified to teach her the full use of her power. For that she will have to go to a school that teaches such things. I went to one while I was younger, located in Scotland, and I’m good friends with the current headmaster.”
“Scotland? But Buffy has school here starting soon!”
“Joyce, I cannot stress how important learning to control magic is. Not only are potential accidents like what occurred at your home easily possible, but untaught wizards or witches are easily tainted by dark magics. The magic will come out, one way or another, so it’s best that it be done in a way that is beneficial.”
“How many years is this magical school?”
“Seven years, normally starting at age 11 or 12. This means that Buffy is already behind. With some tutoring I believe she can catch up, although not if it’s held off much longer.”
“What about high school? And university?!”
“These are important as well. I believe we can arrange to have Buffy get her high school degree by correspondence concurrently with her study of magic, and then when she has graduated from both she can decide about university. There are no magic universities, so she would be free to pursue her education like anyone else.”
Buffy was pouting. Learning magic sounded neat, if slightly wigsome. On the other hand catching up on two years’ worth of learning while studying another year worth of magic while also doing regular high school sounded...nuts. Willow could do it, probably, but Buffy was more action-girl than book-girl.
“I just...I don’t know. Send her to Scotland for school? Where would she stay? How would I know she’s alright?”
“Well, the school is a boarding school so she’d stay in dormitories. They also use a very fast magical post system, so she could write you often, and you could respond in the same way. She could come home during Christmas and spring holidays, and school is out of session in July and August.”
Joyce was slowly relenting. “How much would this cost?”
“Well, you would only be responsible for pocket money, which would be fairly inexpensive because there are only a few select weekends where students are allowed into the nearby town, so there isn’t really anywhere to shop.”
Buffy was horrified. “No shopping! Giles, you never told me there’s no shopping! I could totally skip this magic thing. Or maybe there’s another magic school where they have shopping?”
“Hogwarts is, in my opinion, the best magical school there is. You will have to learn to live without shopping, or shop prodigiously during your holidays. There is also a uniform that has to be worn during classes and in public areas like the library.”
“No shopping and I have to wear uniforms? Why do you think I belong in a place like that? Do you know me at all?”
Joyce smiled. “This sounds better and better. Sometimes I worry that her recent troubles have been because I’m failing to maintain discipline.”
“Well, since school has not begun there yet I can arrange to have a tour for both yourself and Buffy sometime next week, if you are amenable? If you agree then Buffy can stay in Scotland after the tour as school would be starting only a week after that.”
“Ok. Set up this tour for Wednesday or Thursday and let me know the details and we’ll figure out airline information.”
“Oh, no need. We’ll get there without airplanes or additional costs.”
Joyce blinked. “Oh. That sounds good.”
Buffy pouted again. “It sounds good, sure, but it feels like he’s dragging you across the ocean by your stomach. I couldn’t eat for four hours afterwards.”
“Portkey travel can be somewhat discomforting, but you’re exaggerating. I’m pretty sure I fed you not half an hour after we returned yesterday and you managed to eat quite happily. It’s also instant, as opposed to the long flight times that we’d have on a plane. Now go get your things, you’re going home with your mother.” He turned back to Joyce. “I shall call you tomorrow with the details.”***
The three of them were at the Bronze, sitting in a booth. Willow and Xander were nervous – Buffy had said there was big news to tell them, and in Sunnydale big news was never good.
“So what’s going on Buffy? Did Giles figure out this whole fire thing?”
“Umm...kinda. Apparently I’m a witch.”
“A witch?!” They both repeated at the same time.
“Yah. We went to the Council, and they said you can’t be a witch and the Slayer at the same time, so I am by default no longer the Slayer.”
“What...what does that mean?” Willow’s eyes were wide.
“It means that sometime this week the new Slayer is supposed to show up, and then no more late night patrols for Buffy.”
“Ya, apparently when the Master drowned me it was enough to call my replacement.”
“So what now?”
“That’s the bad part. I have to go to magical boarding school somewhere in the land of the tweed, and then I’ve got to catch up on two years of magic school that I’ve missed, while taking regular classes, and take normal high school by correspondence at the same time.”
“You’re...you’re going away?” Willow’s eyes were big and wet.
Buffy gave a sad smile, then reached over and hugged her. “I have to. Apparently this magic thing is pretty important.”
“Next week, apparently.”
“So soon? But you just got back!”
“Yah, well my sudden habit of half burning down houses just sort of popped up now.”
Xander cut in. “Habit?”
“I may have scorched my living room, and also a wall at Giles’ place.”
“That does sound sort of...dangerous.”
“Ya. Anyways, Giles, my mom, and me are going for a tour of this school next week, and if mom doesn’t say no I’m staying there until school starts. Then I don’t come back until Christmas break.”
“Aw...I’m gonna miss you Buff.” Xander’s casual voice belied the strong emotions. This was the girl who had turned his entire view of life around, and shown him just how bad things were in Sunnydale, and saved their lives, a lot. She was just...leaving.
“I’m going to miss both of you. We still have a week before I have to go, so we’re going to spend it together.”
Willow sniffled. “Ok.”***
The portkey dumped Joyce on the ground, and she took Giles with her. Buffy’s supernatural reflexes again allowed her to stand still through the disorienting landing. She grimaced at the feeling, though. They were on a street, somewhere. In front of her stood a building marked ‘The Leaky Cauldron’.
“I’m going to assume we’re going there, right?” She said, pointing.
Joyce got up, and brushed dust off of her jacket while apologizing to Giles. She looked to see where Buffy was pointing. “Uh...honey, you’re pointing at a brick wall.”
“Oh I assure you there is a business there, Joyce. It’s enchanted so as not to be visible to anyone who doesn’t have magic. You’ll be able to see it once we step inside.”
Inside was sort of bar-like, with people drinking and eating. The man at the bar looked at Giles and smiled. “Rupert Giles, it’s been years! How have you been?”
“Quite well, thank you. We have three rooms booked, if you could get someone to show us which, please.”
Tom stepped out from behind the bar. “I’ll show you myself and we can chat. Follow along.”
Buffy ignored Giles and Tom chatting while looking over her room. It was ok, and since she wasn’t staying here for very long it didn’t really matter. A large bed, a dresser with attached mirror, and an attached bathroom. Sort of plain.
Giles saying her name pulled her from her observations. “Yes, Buffy here will be attending Hogwarts, and staying here until it’s time to go to King’s Cross.”
“Oh, you’ll love it, miss. Not a school in the world like Hogwarts.”
“That’s what they tell me. How much time do we have before we’re going to Hog-whatever?”
“About a half hour. I was thinking we’d stop at one store before we go.”
“Oh Giles, you sure do know the way to a girl’s heart.”
Giles smiled. “Now, come along. You can leave your things here, they’re quite safe. We’ll go pick up your mother from her room and then go and get you a wand.”
“Oh. Do they sell clothes in the wand store?”
“I’m afraid not. Please stop pouting – wands are quite a bit of fun, you’ll see.”
The entrance to Diagon Alley had been neat, but standing in front of the tiny, dusty shop marked “Ollivander’s: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 BC” was less impressive. It looked like the shop hadn’t been dusted or painted since 382 BC, and judging from the look on her mother’s face Buffy wasn’t alone in that opinion.
Inside was even less impressive – a counter, a single chair and then endless stacks of boxes filled the little shop. Buffy’s senses directed her vision towards the outline of a door in a dark corner, just in time to see it open and let a small, white haired man into the room. She could see that neither Giles nor her mom could see him yet.
“Rupert Giles, it has been some time. Holly and unicorn hair, 12 inches, firm.” The old man stepped out of the shadows.
Giles pulled the wand from where it was hidden in his sleeve. “Yes, still working wonderfully. This is Buffy and she is looking for her first wand.”
“Ah, yes. Step right here, my dear. Which is your wand arm?” Olivander removed a tape measure from a pocket.
“Your dominant arm, Buffy.”
Giles covered his eyes with a hand. “You mean ambidextrous. Dextrose is a kind of sugar.”
“Well, I’m that.”
Ollivander smiled. “Yes, interesting, hold both your arms out, please.”
The tape measure went to work while Ollivander took a set of glasses out from another pocket, putting them on while staring intently at Buffy. “Most interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like you. I suspect finding a wand for you will be something of a challenge.”
Giles frowned. “What do you mean, exactly?”
“Oh, don’t mind me. Sometimes the intricacies of wand lore and matching a wand to its owner make me a bit distant – a weakness of mine. Now my dear, try this - hawthorn and unicorn hair, nine inches, swishy.”
Buffy took the wand, but was hesitant to do anything with it. “The last time I did this I caused some damage at Giles’ house.”
“Yes, well it’s quite normal for there to be some mayhem. That’s why finding the right wand is imperative. Now please, my dear, give it a swish.”
She swished and got no reaction from the wand, which was plucked from her fingers by an excited Ollivander. “Oh yes, that was completely wrong. Here, try this - walnut, dragon heartstring, thirteen inches, firm.”
This time the wand shot a stream of black lightning towards the rear of the shop, scorching boxes, the walls, and the floor. She eeped and dropped it, where Ollivander picked it up, inspected it for damage, then returned it to its box. “I daresay that was not the wand for you, although the reaction was interesting.”
They went through another dozen wands, Buffy getting more and more afraid of testing them as they wreaked mayhem on everything she pointed them at. “Maybe we can come back tomorrow? I’m all wanded out for now, I think.”
“Nonsense, I think I have narrowed the choices down to two or three. We are almost there. I have to get them from the workshop – I’ll be right back.” Buffy watched him head towards the door hidden by shadow.
“Is this normal, Rupert?” Joyce was eyeing the destruction surrounding them.
“I’ve heard that occasionally there are tough cases, but Ollivander is the best wand maker there is, period.”
“Why thank you, Rupert. I am simply old enough to know my craft very well.” Ollivander emerged from the shadows carrying a handful of boxes. “Here you are dear, some of my more ambitious wands. This first one is quite powerful – black elder and three braided Unicorn hairs, twelve and three eighths inches, unyielding.”
Buffy swished the wand, and rather than mayhem black smoke erupted from the tip of the wand. Ollivander snatched it from her hands and put another in its place. “Very close now. Black elder and phoenix feather soaked in phoenix tears, twelve inches, supple.” This time a jet of black liquid erupted from the tip, and the wand was immediately replaced by another.
“Black elder and dragon heartstring, 12 and one quarter inches, firm.” Again more black smoke.
Ollivander took the wand and inspected it. “Hmmm...I believe this one was closest, but it wasn’t quite what you need.” His eyes lit up as an idea struck him. “Take this wand,” he handed her the unicorn hair wand, “and this one in the other hand.” He gave her the phoenix tear wand as well. “Swish, please.”
She swished and small black sparks came from both wands. “Still not quite there, but very, very close. My dear I will have to ask you to return in three day’s time. I think I have deduced exactly what you need, but it will require me to alter a wand to suit your unique magical abilities.”
Buffy shrugged. “Ok.”
Giles was less placid. “This seems quite extraordinary. Two wands, and both Elder?”
Ollivander was smiling. “Yes, very exciting. I don’t think I’ve ever had a customer that was quite this challenging, and I’ve had everyone from He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named to Harry Potter. Very exciting.”
“Indeed. Now, let’s be off...the portkey to Hogwart’s has become active.”
Buffy was getting tired of portkey travel. “Oh goody, another porkey.”
“Port-key, not porkey. Now quit your sarcasm. Joyce, this is just like the Portkey we took to London – just hold on right here and be ready.”
Buffy sighed, but placed her hand on the pen Giles held out.***
They appeared in an office, between the fireplace and the large desk. In one of the chairs sat an older looking witch, dressed in the robes that Buffy noticed were pretty normal in magical England. She smiled at them. “Rupert, how very nice to see you after all these years. It brings joy to my heart to see that a troublemaker as accomplished as you can settle down, albeit somewhat late. Is this your wife?”
“Ah, no. This is Joyce. She is Buffy’s mother.”
“How do you do, Ms Summers? I am Minerva McGonagall and I am the Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.”
“Just Joyce, if you please.”
“Very well. The headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, is unfortunately otherwise occupied, so I shall be the one to give you the tour of the castle and grounds and to answer any questions you have.”
Buffy was sort of lost in her own world as they wandered the castle. Pretty much everything was interesting – even the paintings on the walls talked and moved. She was pretty sure she saw a ghost, and two suits of armor fighting. The various classrooms, towers, dungeons, and whatnot passed by with successively more interesting sights each time. Not long into the tour Buffy found herself more or less desensitized to the feeling of surprise. It seemed like almost no time had passed before the tour ended in the Great Hall, a room with a ceiling that looked like the sky at night.
McGonagall was still talking. “...and that concludes the tour. If you’ll all sit down here at the staff table I’ll have the house elves bring us something to eat while I answer any questions you have.”
“Food isn’t necessary, but I do have some questions.” Joyce looked at Buffy. “Why don’t you run along for a bit, Buffy?”
“Consider me run along.” She stood up and walked back towards one of the hallways with moving pictures.
Joyce turned to the witch. “I...I don’t want to say that I’m against Buffy going here, but I’m concerned. I think it’s really important that she learn regular, non magical high school things. Buffy has never been the strongest student, and I’m worried that she won’t be able to keep up with her schoolwork once you effectively double it.”
“Well, for one thing we will be giving Buffy a tutor to help her catch up to where the other students her age should be. I believe that aside from some minor differences, she will be caught up in terms of magic within three or four months. As to her muggle education – I cannot say. I understand that you can take courses by post, but Hogwarts does not receive muggle post. I can only suggest she send you or Rupert her things by owl, and you can forward them to wherever they’re supposed to go. If she splits her muggle education so that she takes courses during the summer, she should have no problem doing both.”
“I don’t know...I don’t want Buffy missing out on the things that she’ll need to live in the ordinary world.”
“Ms Summers, I can only say that you must make it clear to her how important it is, and I or one of the staff will follow up to make sure that she is in fact doing her muggle schoolwork. A successful arrangement can be found, I assure you.”
Joyce sighed. “Ok. But if this doesn’t work out then I’m pulling her back at the end of this year.”
“I believe you will find that at Hogwarts, things have a way of working themselves out just fine.” ***
Her second time at Ollivander’s was shorter. Just after she walked in Ollivander appeared from his hidden door, put two boxes down on the counter, and motioned her towards them.
“It took me some time, but I believe I have created two wands that together are perfect for you.” He opened the first box, and inside was a very plain round wood cylinder, distinguished only by the gloss on the nearly black wood. “Black elder and unicorn blood – donated willingly, I assure you - eight inches, unyielding. It is a truly powerful wand and one of my best creations.”
He opened the second box. In it lay another shiny black wand, this time tapered to a point and inscribed with runes along its length. “This is a rather special wand. It is a based on what I’ve read about a legendary wand, and getting it to work properly...it was a challenge. The carvings on the wand help contain the magic so as to make it more stable. Black elder and a single thestral hair, 8 inches, unyielding. Now, pick both of them up and give them a wave.”
When she waved them she could feel energy moving through her, into the wand, until it burst from the top in a wave of golden light. They felt...right.
“Ah, yes. Another happy customer, another perfect match. That will be 16 galleons, please.”
“Galleons are the big gold ones, right?”
A short ficlet occurs between chapter 3 and 4, and you can find it here