(Secret village of the Hood, Sherwood)
A forest much bigger in size then what modern people knew, a forest hidden by magic older than mankind and it looked nice Buffy thought for the hundred time. If you liked forests, she was a big town girl, steel concrete and shopping malls thank you so much.
The village of Hood had small shops with the necessary food, some cloths and cleaning equipment, all biological and environmental friendly.
The buildings were odd. Old buried stone buildings from a castle cellar and basement formed the main houses. Over them big tall trees hid the exit and entry of them. Other newer buildings were spread out among the trees all of them were build of wood and many were half buried so they could use the surrounding earth as isolation. And then there were tree houses or should she say tree mansions?
They had installed a hidden water generator which gave more than half the village its power. The rest came from solar power generators spread out around the Village of Hood.
Around 800 people lived here permanently. Another 1000 lived outside, but spent lot of time in Hood. Quite big considering that it was a Wicca witch village and a hidden village.
The god Hearn, god of the hunt and the forest, protected them. According to Giles he was a minor god or half god that was quite strong inside English forests and areas where wood grew in England. Outside of England he held no power.
Buffy was of mixed emotions concerning Hearn. She had talked to him and seen him preach the rules of living under his protection. Nice rules, more along keep the forest strong and live in harmony with the animal and plants and I protect you and no temple of Jesus may be build within my forest.
Her dragon powers told her the first time she saw Hearn POWER. REAL POWER, DON’T ANGER.
Of course that was the Druid of Hearn as she later learned. He had the honor of being possessed by the real Hearn. On days when he wasn’t possessed he seemed like a harmless old man, the kind of old man that looked like a grandfather and gave you cookies.
Now Willow was here. The new Priestess of Idun and it seemed like Hearn had nothing against Idun.
Willow explained that the Idun religion accepted other gods. Jesus and Christian religion clearly stated that no gods except his father was allowed to be worshiped. And if the Christian religion didn’t accepted Hearn, why should Hearn accept them in his own home?
Buffy thought that was a good answer. Still it was a boring place. From what she had seen and heard from Metatron there seemed to be a big difference between GOD and the Creator of all. Yet didn’t the bible say they were the same?
“Miss we are going to cast a blessing on us and for the future. Do you want to come and help or just watch?” A handsome man in a bathrobe asked.
Buffy blinked and asked, “Why aren’t you dressed?”
The man smiled as he said, “The ritual has to be cast sky clothed or naked.”
Buffy looked at him. “Hmm… more male witches or just you?” She sat up and continued. “You know I just found something to do.” Perhaps this place wasn’t that bad after all.
“Buffy I need help. Dana climbed up a tree and now she can’t climb down again,” a panicked Willow interrupted her.
Tara rushed beside her with Oz taking up the rear. “You got to help us. She is so afraid and she can’t come down.”
Oz just looked slightly behind him then ignored what was sneaking behind his back.
Buffy caught the movement. Dana was sneaking after them not trapped in a tree at all. Instead she looked like she was having fun scaring Tara and Willow. So the little girl was playing games did she? “Alright I come and save her,” she said rushing into the bush where a giggling Dana rushed away.
“Oh thank goddess. She is alright,” Tara said.
“And having fun,” Oz said with a happy smile. That poor child was having fun.
“They said this is a place of healing. They were not lying,” Willow said after jumping out of the way so that ground based missile Dana could rush by her giggling with Buffy after her.
Harry took his talking mirror which he used to talk to Sirius.”He isn’t letting me join in the search of a Horcrux either,” he complained.
Xander shrugged. “He is trying to be a man. Not forcing children to save their asses. I can respect that. But it’s bloody irritating after having saved the asses of adults so long. Standing on the side just pisses me off.”
Hermione walked up. “Then let’s do something. Have a lesson or…”
She was silenced by Xander raising his hand. “I will. Viktor said it. And I will do it. Time for me to get to know Robin.”
Hermione and Harry smiled.
Xander stood still and swallowed. “I’m a bit afraid. Perhaps I should do it tomorrow.”
“Oh boys. Merlin, can you be more chicken hearted?” Hermione said, pulling him to the dorms. “You are going there if I so have to hold your hands. Understand?”
“What just happened?” Harry asked.
Dawn snorted. “You saw it.”
Harry jumped in surprised. “What? Didn’t see you,” he yelped and then relaxed.
“She has fallen for him. And Xander? The moment Xander stops thinking of her as younger than him she will catch him,” Dawn said.
Harry smiled and replied, “Thanks, good somebody explains these things to me. I absolutely have no idea about girls or relationship. A girl could walk by with a sign that she loves somebody and I would miss it.”
“Really? Why is that?” Dawn wondered.
Harry blushed, but just now he was to happy to care. “The Dursleys always said I would never find anybody that would love me. I gave up when I was too young to understand that they lied.”
Dawn swallowed her anger as she hugged him. “Well here you have lots of friends. All of us love you,” she grinned and then added. “And I know for a fact that Ginny likes you, I like you, Susan likes you and all of us would love to date you. Perhaps you should ask one of us out?”
Harry swallowed. As a boy he was a bit slow on the emotional uptake, most likely because his emotions in that area had been suppressed. He had only just started to discover the lovely life form called girls. The idea of dating on the other hand scared him silly. “Perhaps later,” he said and then rushed away.
Dawn glared, before it was mostly an amusing fun idea going on a date, nothing serious. Hell she was 13 years old and he was 14. Holding hands, perhaps a kiss on the lips was as far as she was thinking. But now he had dismissed her. Not only her, but Ginny, Luna, Susan. All of them were her friends.
That wasn’t only an insult to her it was an insult to all of them. And the Dursleys must have crippled or scared poor Harry so he was to shy. “WELL THIS IS DAWN SUMMERS’ OPERATION ‘TRUE LOVE’,” she yelled before running off to find partners in crime.
Unknown to Harry, even unknown to Dawn, the fact that Harry had dismissed her and walked away not only from her but from three other beautiful girls made the dragon inside her suddenly give Higher Value on Harry and the Dragon had odd ideas sometimes.
She had to go find a good girlfriend for Harry. Ginny, Luna, Susan or her were potential and accepted candidates for Harry, both the human inside Dawn and the Dragon that valued friends as treasures and strong friends as high valued treasures. So what could be more valuable than a pair of strong friends? Perhaps a boyfriend, but that was still a bit scary idea.
The fact that she also was only 13 years old and emotional confused like all human males or females are in that age didn’t help.
(Later, Nottingham Trent University near Sherwood)
The roar of the bike awoke a lot of curios and impressed eyes as it slowly drove by them, only to park in the parking lot. The driver, who was surprisingly young looking, removed his helmet with one hand as he helped a girl out of the cauldron shaped side-cart.
A college student seeing that could not help joking at the sight of bike. “What’s cooking man?”
Hermione rolled her eyes. That joke considering the shape of Xander’s bike was so old.
“Something hotter than you can think off,” Xander answered, smiling at Hermione.
The watching students, all older then Xander and Hermione, politely smiled at the response, most just watched the work of art on two wheels.
As the questions started to come Xander quickly avoided them.”Sorry, but we have no time.”
“So many are asking questions about your bike, why don’t you have a pre-printed answering sign hanging from it?” Hermione said smiling.
“That’s not a bad idea,” Xander replied and he had to consider it, sometimes having a wonderful bike like his caused needless attention. Still he loved that bike.
“Whoo Hoo,” Archimedes agreed.
“Thank you Archi,” Hermione said. The Owl puffed up his feathers so he looked like a round ball of feathers. It was his way of basking in pride and trying to look impressive.
Humans only found him amusing. Hermione also found him adorable cute, not that she would ever insult Archimedes by saying that he looked cute and not impressive.
The two walked around, searching for the help desk. With some help they found it.
“Robin, you have visitors,” a professor said.
Robin Millar looked out and saw Xander and a female friend standing outside the door waving. He smiled and then turned to his student. “Can you handle it from here?”
The younger man nodded. “Yeah, thank you Mr. Millar.”
Robin nodded. “Xander, what a surprise. I’m off in forty minutes Professor. Is it all right if I take a bit earlier off? I can come in earlier tomorrow.”
The professor nodded.”You can go and Robin, remember I owe you two hours extra free time. We just clock it off.”
“Forgot about that. Well in that case see you tomorrow,” Robin replied.
“I hope I’m not interrupting something,” Xander said.
“No, I have to earn some money so I took a part time job here. Fixing and repairing and tutoring new students about computers. Most of what I do is tutoring new students in computer engineering and programming.” He looked at Xander then continued. “Now who is your friend? Is she you girlfriend?”
Xander blushed. “Um no, she is my friend. Hermione Granger. Hermione this is Robin Millar.”
“Please call me Robin Miss Granger, any friend of Xander is a friend of mine,” Robin said and on the inside he was thinking, ‘Damn he may still be after Cordelia. Dam he may still be after Cordelia.’
“Let’s go to the café and have something to eat while we talk,” he said, starting to walk with Hermione and Xander on each side of him.
Hermione nodded, this guy had a real comfortable teddy bear feeling around him. “Thanks Robin and do call me Hermione.”
“Hermione… that’s from Shakespeare right? A winter tale, the Queen Hermione of Sicily,” Robin said.
Hermione clapped her hands. “Good and half right. My dad loves Shakespeare and Mom loves David Bowie songs. Her favorite is –Letter to Hermione- So if it’s the song I’m named after or the tale I’m not sure. Mom and dad claim it’s both,” she said while she rolled her eyes.
Robin laughed. “Parents can be that way. I trust you take care of this rascal?” he said, pointing at Xander. He slowly cast a spell of true vision and what he saw did calm him down. There were emotions growing between them. Yes… soon he would no longer come between him and Cordelia.
“Let me just say. HEY.” Xander mock complained.
“It’s harder than it looks,” Hermione replied with a grin.
“Let me just say. HEY.” Xander said again, rolling his eyes. “I can handle myself.”
“And why do you keep coming back down with magical overcharge?” she asked, looking amused.
“Perhaps I’m a bit careless,” Xander admitted.
Robin grinned. If he could get these two together then he would no longer have to fear losing Cordelia. “Sounds like you are a real couple already.”
The two blushed and silence ruled as they walked up to the cafe.
At the table Robin cast a quick ‘listen not’ spell to give them privacy. “So Xander the real reason you are here?”
Xander scratched his hand. Hermione pushed him in the side. He took a deep breath. “I got jealous. Not over that you where with Cordelia, but I realized my child or children are going to look at you and… and say Dad. What is worse is that you are going to be a better father then I can be to them. All I will be is the funny man that brings them gifts. Argue with their mother sometimes. Call at Christmas and show up with Christmas gifts. They will eventually learn I’m their blood father, but you Robin are going to be the real dad. I wanted to be jealous, I wanted the best for the kids. You are the best. It just hurts man. It hurts.”
Robin nodded. When most teen was dreaming of adventure he was dreaming of a family to love, a wife and children. “I understand. What can we do?”
“A wise person told me to get to know Robin and try to become friends. That way you will no longer feel jealous and I can try to consider you to be a brother in all but blood. That way the father will be no longer a stranger, but your own family.”
Robin nodded. “A wise man indeed, let’s be friends then.”
“I think you can handle it on your own. See you later,” Hermione said while standing up and leaving the boys to have their date together. She giggled, date was the only word she could think of.
Robin and Xander stared at each other.
“So, what are your interests?” Xander asked. He was having a date with a man. Sure it was a become friends date, but it was still a date and it made him feel weird.
Robin nodded. “Good start. Well I’m in computers and Wicca as you know. I like books as long as they are safe and not dark magic type of books. I’m more a stay at home and protect type. I do fiddle a bit in writing, trying to create a new better plant potion book and combining some wand-magic potions and traditional Wicca spells.”
Xander nodded well that was a beginning. “I like magic too. Did you read my books by the way about magic?”
“You write books? Please let me see,” Robin said and his eyes lighted up.
“I would love to see what you have written,” Xander scratched his head. “The new potions professor says I’m good at potions, not great but good.”
Robin nodded, to create new potions to become a potion master the way the Wand-users did a person needed a special understanding about the ingredients used, a magical ability to feel or see the nature of the substances. That ability was something you were born with most of the time. A person stubborn and curios enough could gain it over time and hard work.
Wiccan potions were different. They used ordinary organic things like spices, apples, roots and leafs from normal non magical plants. Then cooked it together while infusing it with magic they would summon.
Sorcery potions were different. They used magical active plants and animals, boiled it together relishing the magic in the liquid. Of course they also infused it with magic while steering it with a wooden spoon.
So anybody could make sorcery potions. Even if the wand-wankers had invented the whole process. Soon the two were reading each other’s drafts and were coming up with critic and support.
Each of them tried to become friends with the other and they were succeeding.