An Auror, A Slayer and a Broken Wand.
“Harry? Jeans are definitely your pants,” Buffy said, eliciting chuckles from those nearby. “Oh, right," she corrected herself, "it’s trousers in tweed-land, not pants like in the rest of the English speaking world.”
“I’m sure that last bit isn’t quite true, but I don’t have the evidence to back it up,” Hermione commented.
“Yeah, yeah, laugh at the California girl,” her aunt replied casually. Hermione leaned in to whisper in Harry’s ear.
“She hasn’t even been to California in decades, you’d think she’d pick up some of the local culture,” she said.
“What was that thing your father said last night? ‘You can take the blonde out of California, but you can’t take the California out of the blonde?’” Harry repeated Xander's comment, and together they laughed at her aunt’s expense.
“Now, if you’re done whispering sweet nothings, maybe Harry could try on a pair of these?” Buffy asked, holding up yet another outfit, this time a dark brown that resembled nothing very appetizing.
“Absolutely not,” Harry said.
“I think we’ve bought enough clothes the color of mulch, thank you,” Harry protested crossing his arms in a symbol for ‘no.’ Buffy sighed and put them back on the rack.
“Fine, why don’t you guys look for some things,” she said, “I’ve got to look after something real quick.”
They nodded and Hermione dragged Harry off to look at some dresses. Harry was of the opinion that it was better to sit for a while and wait for Hermione to model than to model himself.
Buffy walked around a corner and quickly pulled a man into a secluded alcove. Her hand was clasped hard across his mouth, preventing any words. His hand went for a weapon in his pocket, but she grabbed it, snapping it in two with one hand.
“None of that,” she hissed. “You listen and listen well. I am fully capable of dealing with you in a permanent fashion and when it comes to the safety of my family, I don’t have a problem with that. Now, I am going to take my hand away. You are not going to scream. You are not going to cast a spell. You are going to tell me in a quiet voice with a tone like we are neighbors, why you are following us. If you lie, and I’m a pretty good judge of that by now, I’ll start breaking bones. Do we have a deal?” He nodded. “Good.”
He took a deep breath as soon as she removed her hand from his mouth and nose. “I’m Potter’s security detail. I was assigned to make sure he was safe. He isn’t living with his relatives and the Ministry wanted someone to keep an eye on the situation.”
“Then why don’t you come out and say that? Why lurk? That is,” she said with a little shake to his lapels, “if you are who you say you are.”
“I can understand your hesitation, but unfortunately, you just broke the only way I had to prove my identity at the moment,” the auror said, nodding to the broken wand.
“Honestly! You Freud-y mages and your little sticks,” Buffy whined. “Why can’t anybody just stay with a nice sacrificial dagger anymore? So much harder to accidentally brake and multipurpose, too.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” the man replied.
“I’ll be a little clearer,” Buffy said. “Either you join us in public instead of playing stalker boy, or I ensure you spend some time with some guys named Bubba in the local gulag.”
“That’s fine,” the man said. Buffy held out her hand.
“Buffy Summers, and you are?”
“I, er, uh, Tonks,” the man said, taking her hand.
“Is that a first name or a last name?” she asked, giving him a slightly harsh handshake.
“Owe! Just my name,” the man said, shaking his hand. “You have a very strong grip.”
She shrugged innocently. “I work out.”
When they got back to the teens, Buffy introduced the man. “This is Tonks. He’s part of your security detail.”
“I have a security detail?” Hermione asked.
“Both of you actually,” Tonks said. “And well, I’m it.”
“Uh, why?” Harry asked.
“You’re a public couple, right now,” Tonks said. “The Ministry was worried that someone might decide to do something in a more permanent fashion. Also, there’s that Sirius Black situation.”
“Why would someone do that?” Harry asked. Tonks sighed and pulled a paper out of his back pocket and passed it to the teens. On the cover was a shot of them playing a game of pickup football with Padfoot, Giles and Buffy the night before. Both teens looked up scandalized. Buffy ripped it from their hands.
“This was taken from inside
the house!” Buffy snarled. She then glared up at Tonks. “I want an explanation! How can this happen? It’s practically telling them exactly where we live!”
“I agree,” Tonks said. He went on to discuss the various possible security options available and what it would take to have them placed on a muggle home. Harry leaned over to Hermione.
“Your aunt is scary when she’s angry,” he told her. Hermione smiled and shook her head.
“She’s just a little peeved,” she countered. “You really
wouldn’t like her when she’s angry.”
Harry just looked at her goggle eyed.
“Skeeter! MacOl, get in here!” the editor said. As soon as they were inside, he cast a spell closing the door and activating the privacy charms. “Good work, you two, great first part! The papers are practically flying off the shelves!”
“Oh, goody,” Rita Skeeter said, rubbing her hands together. “What next?”
“I want a full spread on her family,” the Chief said. He held his hand up as if he was writing the headline in the air. “I can see it now, ‘Torturer’s Daughter Marries Boy-Who-Lived’! This is the gravy train, kids. This is almost as good as if Bellatrix had married Sirius Black.”
“But they’re cousins, chief,” MacOl put in appalled.
“Sure, but the scandal would have sold papers,” the Chief said. He started flipping through the pages. “What’s up with this dog? In every shot he’s flashing the brown eye!”
“Don’t know, Chief,” MacOl reported. “It’s like he knew about the camera even if I was under an invisibility cloak. We had to crop him out just to get one good shot.”
“Interesting,” muttered the Chief. “Get me a full write up on the Grangers. I want histories, reports, anecdotes, old stories. Who is the old man? What’s the dog’s name? What pets do they have? Any scandals in their family?” The reporter and her loyal photographer paused, expecting him to continue, but the Chief abruptly pointed to the door. “What are you waiting for?”
“Yes, Chief!” they said as they scrambled to the newsroom.
“AND DON’T CALL ME CHIEF!”
Buffy decided that since the Wizarding World already knew where they lived, it wasn’t a problem taking Tonks back to the house. Just to make sure that he was on the up-and-up with Willow and Tara. It never hurt to take precautions.
They were met, however, by a shortish girl with blonde hair that most bottle blondes could only dream of. She was also dressed up like Margot Kidder’s Lois Lane, but with radish earrings and a yellow pad of paper about four sizes too big. She looked to be about a year or so younger than Harry and Hermione and had that affected appearance of professionalism that only children could pull off. The effect was cute, in an elfin way.
“Oh, goody,” she said. “I’m Luna Lovegood, head reporter for the Quibbler.”
Tonks, tried, really tried, to keep the smirk off his face. The girl was so serious that it was hard not to laugh.
“Are you happy with what’s happened?” the girl asked Hermione.
“Your engagement to Harry Potter,” the girl asked.
“Oh, I don’t really think about it,” Hermione lied.
“Is it true that you’re sharing a bed and having wild kinky sex?”
You couldn’t have gotten a deeper blush off the two teens if you had tried.
and I think that’s the end of the interview,” Buffy said, pulling the pad of paper out of the girl’s hand. She glanced over the notes. “You do realize that this is all made up, right?”
“What about how Miss Granger swore to become the next dark lord?” Lovegood asked.
“That’s another misquote,” Buffy said. She saw Tonks shaking with the effort to keep from laughing out loud at the girl. “Why don’t you try again next weekend? We’ll discuss this in a better setting.”
“Okay!” And with that, she waved her wand, calling up the Knight Bus that screeched to a halt right in front of them. She jumped aboard and waved to them. It was so cute that the others couldn’t help but wave back. Their hands dropped to their sides as soon as the Knight Bus pulled away.
Tonks looked a little worried a moment later.
“What’s wrong?” Hermione asked.
“I just realized that I should have taken the bus,” he said numbly. “My wand broke.”
“You wand broke?” Harry and Hermione exclaimed in unison like it was a national tragedy. Hermione gave her aunt a dark look. Buffy looked "innocent" while Tonks winced as the truth was revealed.
“Uh, please don’t tell anyone about this?” he pleaded. “I’ll never hear the end of it, if the Department learns I got my wand broken.”
“No worries here,” Hermione assured him. He nodded. Buffy stifled a giggle at the unintentional double entendre. Turning back to Buffy, he gave her a regretful smile.
“I’m sorry, but I’ll have to take the Underground if I’m going to get home at a reasonable hour,” Tonks admitted. “Perhaps we could discuss the protections another time?”
Hermione and Harry gaped as they saw Buffy actually blush slightly. “Sure, why don’t you call or write for a time? I’m free most evenings these days, although afternoons are better.”
Buffy casually grabbed his hand and wrote her number on his palm.
“Uh, thanks,” Tonks said, a little confused. Tonks said his goodbyes and headed down into the closest connection to the Underground, before morphing back into her original shape. About half way home, she paused and looked at her hand.
“Did I just agree to a date?”
The next morning, two aging wizards did a spit-take upon reading the front page of the Daily Prophet. Walking along in plain black and white, were Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, an all-too-familiar dog, and Rupert “Ripper” Giles. Giles was listed as an “unknown grandfather” and that was none too settling to those who had been in on the situation.
“Hermione Granger is Ripper Giles’ granddaughter?
” Albus Dumbledore and Mad Eye Moody both bellowed in complete surprise, in unknown unison, but in different locations. Then, almost immediately, they flooed each other, then finding it busy, stalking around their respective residences pondering what could possibly be so important that the other was on the floo so early. They tried again, but this time Moody was just slightly faster.
“Albus, I’m coming through,” he announced a split second before he stepped through.
“I assume you’ve seen today’s front page?” Albus asked.
“Indeed,” Moody said. “You always did suspect that Granger was a little too skillful for her group.”
“I had my suspicions, but this is not what I expected,” Dumbledore replied. “I thought maybe she had a powerful witch in the family that she didn’t know about, or perhaps some magical ancestry. But in Merlin’s name, I never suspected that she’d be apprenticed to someone who summoned demons for fun!”
“What influence is this going to have on Harry?”
“I don’t know,” Albus said. “But I do have it on good authority that he is scared of her one-eyed dentist father.”
“That’s a very dangerous job, isn’t it?”
“Oh, I’m sure it is,” Albus agreed.
Next time: Angry Mother, Upset Daughter and Newspapers