The city was a dangerous place at night. No place for a lady and certainly no place for a girl as young as this on. Of course, a girl her age wondering the streets was not an uncommon sight. There were many who were lost in the alleyways, either on purpose or by circumstance, and youth offered no exception. It in fact seemed to make it more likely.
She passed a large, blotted man who was laughing loudly as he staggered between two young women. He had obviously paid for their company as they smiled prettily up at him in a way they probably assumed was seductive. One was even tracing circles into the loose fitting tunic he wore. For some reason, he found it incredibly funny. Then, the jug of wine that he was holding probably helped his humor.
As she pushed her way passed them, an odd sensation crawled up her neck. It was something she was becoming more and more familiar with and understood instantly what it meant. Danger was near. One of them were near.
She swirled around and started at the man and his girls who were now further down the narrow alley. In the darkness of the evening, it was harder to see them in detail, but she did see one of the women turn back. She flung her black hair over her shoulder and grinned back at her. A torch flickered from its mount on a nearby wall and cast shadows over her face, but she could still see the sparkle of gold that her eyes had shifted too.
By the gods.
Turning swiftly on her feet, she charged after them. Anticipating the attack, the creature -- because she was certainly not human -- roughly shoved the man away. Threw was probably a better description. Even though he outweighed her, she swatted him away as if she were knocking away a fly. He landed hard against the other girl, who in turn was smacked against the alley wall. Both laid still and the jug of wine laid broken on the ground.
Still she ran after the creature. Down alleyways and up stairs and through nearly empty streets -- she ran. She took deep breaths of saltwater air that was accented by the foul scent of filth and grim that accompanied busy cities. It didn’t so much as wind her, though logically she knew it should have. A week ago it would have, but not now.
The creature turned down a familiar alley, and she smiled to herself. This particularly alley dead-ended. She slid to a stop at the entrance and started down at the creature that was trapped at its end.
‘You are trapped,’ she unnecessarily said in a language that was not her own but she somehow understood.
‘There is no where for you to go now.’
The creature appeared frightened at first, as if it realized its mistake too late. However, that look of fear morphed as quickly as her features had.
‘I think you are the one who is trapped,’ it said.
Before she understood what was happening, she felt something hard hit her in the back and knock her to the ground. Another creature, this time male, grinned down at her. His demonic features were more distinct than the females, and his sharp teeth almost seemed to cut into his lips.
She blinked dumbly up at but stealthily reached for her weapon that she had concealed in her robs.
‘There is not much too this one. Is there?’ he laughed.
‘There is more to me than you think,’ she replied as she quickly drew out her weapon.
To anyone who did not know better, it appeared to be nothing more than a sharpened stick. A little too long to be a stake but too short to be a branch, it seemed an odd choice. However, it felt so natural in her hand that she did not question why she had brought it.
She said something that she did not understand and watched impassively as something emitted from the tip of the stick that sent the male creature flying backwards. His bodied sailed in a graceful arc away from her and landed with a loud and hard thud just outside the alley.
She heard the female screech and start to move swiftly towards her. Kicking up her legs, she rolled back onto her shoulders and sprung up from the ground more fluently than should be humanly possible. The stick slid easily in her hand and the sharpened end now faced behind her. The female creature was nearly upon her and, without bothering to look, she impaled the tip of the stick into the creatures chest. Though she didn’t turn to look, opting instead to keep her eyes on the large male, she imagined that there was quite a look of surprise on the females face as she realized what had happened before exploding into a puff of ash.
The male growled furiously. She grinned in response.
In a fit of fury, he launched himself at her and never seemed to realize that he never stood a chance in the first place.
Buffy’s eyes snapped opened as she jerked herself awake. A few snickers sounded around her as she blinked away the last bit of sleepiness and found herself back in her English I class. Mrs. Watermen was standing directly in front of her with a scowl on her face and her arms crossed. She was probably one the least favorite teachers in the school, but that was mostly due to her utter loathing of laziness and immaturity (which made Buffy question why the woman would become a high school teacher). Sleeping, Buffy was pretty sure, wasn’t something that the woman would appreciate.
“Have a nice nap?” she asked rather snappily. Even Buffy was smart enough not to answer. “Perhaps you should try and stay awake, Ms. Summer. You might not care about how Antony manipulated the Roman citizens into a civil war, but I can promise you will when it comes time for your test.”
She turned away from Buffy without waiting for a response. Trying to keep her face as neutral as possible, she glanced down at the text book in front of her and the rousing speech that was highlighted in pink. What did she care about motivational speeches? It wasn’t like she was every going to give one.
Class crept by, and it wasn’t long until Buffy felt the pull of sleepiness again. Her mind wondered as Mrs. Waterman went on about how Antony managed to follow the rules he’d been given but still get what he wanted when the blessed bell finally rang. None of the students wasted any real time waiting to hear the teacher reminding them of their test on the speech the following day. They were just ready to leave so they could go home for the day.
Buffy expertly dodged her fellow students as she made her way down the hall and too her locker. She sidestepped a particularly large group of upperclassmen who laughed loudly as they made their way out the front of the building. Most of the boys jocks and one or two gave her an appreciative glance but lost interest almost as quickly as they saw her. It didn’t help that the girls they were with, most of whom were in the same grade as Buffy, pulled on their arms to demand their attention be placed back on them.
One of the girls, their leader, gave Buffy a nasty look before loudly ‘whisper’ what a freak she had been since transferring to Sunnydale High only a month ago. Another more brain-dead girl mentioned that she might be that because her parents died in a car wreck and ‘orphans were like poor and stuff and maybe she just couldn’t help being like freaky because of it.’ Buffy really wanted to hit both of them, but she didn’t think being thrown out of Sunnydale because she kicked the crap out of Cordelia and her Cordettes would really help much. Sure, she’s feel probably a thousand times better, but she didn’t think her aunt and uncle would be too happy.
Ripping opened her locker, Buffy shoved her books inside and grabbed her jacket. She slammed the door a little harder than she meant too. If she wouldn’t have been so angry, she might have thought that it was odd how the metal bent slightly.
Buffy turned to find her friend Willow standing off to the side clutching her own books. Her plaid jumper had a loose string and one of her knee socks had fallen halfway down her leg, but Willow had yet it seems to have noticed either of them. She didn’t wear makeup, though most all of the girls in their grade did, and it struck Buffy that Willow looked more like a sixth grader than a ninth, especially since she still had braces.
For a moment, Buffy tried to picture her friends back at Hemery dressed like her but found that she really couldn’t. She and her friends back home had been all about fashion, boys, and making sure that they kept their heads as empty as possible. Willow was into computers and learning. It made them an odd fit by the established high school social order, but Buffy didn’t really care about things like that anymore. Willow and Xander and Jesse were good friends to her now; a lot better than her old ones who had abandoned her right after her parents died.
“Rough life,” Buffy answered as she pulled on the jacket she had just gotten for her fifteenth birthday. The pair feel into step with one another and headed for the front doors. “Where are the guys?”
“Xander thought it’d be a good idea if he and Jesse on their book reports on the Vietnam War for Coach Sullivan’s class,” she said. “So they went to go rent Apocalypse Now
, Full Metal Jacket
, and First Blood
“And who says that you need boring books to write a report,” Buffy said flippantly as they headed out into the Californian sunshine.
Reaching into her pocket, Buffy pulled out a sucker, opened the wrapper, and popped it in her mouth. Most of the students had left campus, though there were still a few who were waiting for rides or talking with their friends. Everyone was pretty much minding their own business, but there was one guy there the caught Buffy’s attention. He was sporting the whole tweed thing and was looking around at the students who were exiting the school like he was waiting for someone. He might have been a parent. Buffy didn’t really know, but something did tell that she kind of wanted to avoid him.
“Come on,” she said and wrapped her free arm around Willow’s and stirred her in the opposite direction of Tweed Man. “After Mrs. Watermen’s class, I could so go for a latte right now.”
The streetlights were just starting to come on by the time she and Willow made it back to Buffy’s aunt and uncle’s home. The temperature had dropped several degrees in those few hours that they had spent inside the coffee shop, and Buffy was glad that she had thought to take her jacket with her that morning when she left for school. There were still a few younger kids outside playing as they walked down the sidewalk of Buffy’s new neighborhood, but most were on their way inside to try and beat the cold and their parent’s arrival.
Buffy’s own home was well-lit which told her at least someone was home. Most like her Aunt Lolly. She was usually home by this time of day from her job and would probably be ready to discuss what they would be having for dinner with Buffy and her Uncle Jack once they got back. Lolly, of course, wouldn’t be cooking. Not if Buffy and Jack planned on eating something eatable anyway.
Lolly and Jack weren’t actually Buffy’s biological aunt and uncle. Joyce had meet them a few years after Buffy was born when Lolly was nineteen, broke, married with a baby girl, and looking for a job at Joyce’s art gallery. Even though her mother was about five years older than the woman, they became fast friends, especially when Celia and Buffy became best friends. They pretty much did everything together and became honorary family members.
When their daughter Celia died when Buffy was eight, Lolly and Jack had moved north to Sunnydale. They didn’t see them as often any more, but she knew her mother had kept in touch. When Buffy’s parents died, they had taken her in while the lawyers looked for any relatives. Buffy didn’t think they’d find any. Her dad had been an only child, and if her mother had any family, Buffy had never meet them or heard her say anything about them. As far as she was concerned, this was her new home.
It was an average looking house for the area: two stories, front porch with a swing, and little driveway that lead to the garage in the back. Nothing overly special, really, except for maybe large birdhouse that stood tall in the backyard. It wasn’t really made for regular bird so much as owls, but none of the neighbors complained. At first Buffy thought that was a little weird, but then she soon found out why.
As they headed up Buffy’s walkway, Willow rubbed at the thin material of her long sleeve shirt she wore under her jumper. She asked, “You really don’t think Lolly and Jack would mind if I stayed for dinner?”
“Nah,” Buffy said as she jogged up the front stairs. The air around them felt as if it had grown warmer by just coming to stand under the front porch light, which Willow seem to appreciate. “Lolly wanted me to bring you by anyway. She said something about a book she wanted to show you.”
Willow’s face lit up. “Yeah?”
Buffy swatted away a moth and opened the door and was nearly slapped in the face by a flying cloak. It flapped through the air and gently hunt itself on an empty hook. A little further up the hall a broom swept dirt into a dustpan by itself, while just beyond in the kitchen a salad made itself and a wooden spoon stirred sauce in a pan.
Did she mention that her Uncle Jack was a wizard and her Aunt Lolly a Wiccan? Buffy wasn’t really sure what the difference was, other than Jack used a wand while Lolly just had to wave her hand. Both seemed to worked well enough, so she guess it didn’t really matter.
Willow grinned next to Buffy as she stepped inside. “I love magic.”
She had been taking magical lessons from her aunt since Buffy had arrived at Sunnydale. Buffy hadn’t asked how Willow had found out about magic, but from everything she had seen, she seemed to be really good at it.
“I’m home!” Buffy called as she shrugged out of her jacket. “And I brought…strange men?”
With the exception of Jack, the attention of the adults turned towards Buffy as she stepped out of the foyer and into the living room.
A man in a nicely tailored suit that probably cost more than her parent’s old house quietly placed his tea cup back onto its saucer and then onto the slightly messy coffee table. A briefcase and a larger bag rested next to his feet, and he seemed to be very careful not to kick either one of them. Buffy had seen him before, but she didn’t remember exactly where.
The other one, however, she had never seen. She was sure she would have remembered him if she had; there weren’t a whole lot of guys she knew that ran around with long blond hair and sported snake-head, pimp canes.
“Buffy,” Lolly said as she stood from the couch. “There men are here to see you.”
Buffy felt a knot form in her stomach. Her aunt and uncle were both from Texas, but, while Jack never bothered to try and get rid of his accent, Lolly had worked hard to make hers not so noticeable. Buffy could hear it just now in the slightly angry and annoyed tone her aunt had used. Usually that tone was only reserved for Jack when he did something stupid, which meant heard more than a few times since she had come to live with them.
“If this about me cutting off that truck and running that stop sign, Mr. Leonard has already totally promised that I’ve been banned from Driver’s Ed as long he was teaching it. You know, after the whole screaming like a girl thing,” she added sheepishly.
“It’s not about that,” Lolly said before she caught what Buffy had said. “Wait, you were banned
from Driver’s Ed?”
“Maybe I should go,” Willow said.
Shaking her head, Lolly said, “Yeah. That might be a good idea, Willow.”
“I’ll take you,” Jack said.
As he came to stand by Willow, she said to Buffy, “Call me later?”
“Yeah,” Buffy agreed.
With a last grin of encouragement, Willow started for the door when Jack reached and grabbed her arm. She blinked at him, but Jack just smiled.
“I’ll be back in a minute,” he said as he wrapped his arm around Willow’s shoulders and pulled out his wand.
“What are we -?”
Willow’s question was cut off mid-sentence when a loud pop echoed through the house. With a swirling snap, both Jack and Willow disappeared from the foyer. Buffy wasn’t sure, but she would almost swear that she had heard a very faint scream before they completely vanished. She’d seen him to this a few times, so Buffy wasn’t really freaked out by it. Somehow, she didn’t think Willow was going to have the same opinion.
The man in the expensive suit stood from his place on the couch.
“Buffy,” Lolly said, “you remember Mr. Mercer. You’re parent’s lawyer.”
Oh. So that’s where she knew him from.
“Hi,” Buffy said.
He had this smile on his face that kind of said ‘I’m a nice guy and so totally don’t work for Satan, so you have nothing to fear from me.’ Buffy wondered if lawyer’s practiced it in a mirror, or if anyone actually bought it.
She glanced curiously at the tall man who had remained silent throughout everything. He had this whole cold stare thing going on, and she got the feeling that he would rather be anywhere than there. Lolly frowned at him but didn’t keep her attention on him very long.
“That’s Mr. Malfoy,” Lolly said.
Buffy raised her hand in a friendly gesture. “Hello.”
He didn’t reply. Just continued to sneer.
Figuring that there would only be one reason why her parent‘s lawyer and a guy she had never seen before would be in there, Buffy asked, “Is this about Mom and Dad’s Will?”
She knew there had been a problem with it, which was why it was taking so long for it to be read. At the time Buffy hadn’t really been interested in knowing exactly what that problem was, but as more time passed the more curious she had become. It seemed, however, that it must have been cleared up.
“Yes,” Lolly said as she placed her arm around Buffy’s should much like Jack had Willow’s. “Why don’t we go into the dinning room. Gentlemen?”
Mr. Mercer continued to smile as he walked past Buffy and Lolly. Mr. Malfoy sneered lightly at the apparent idea of the dinning room but followed nonetheless. He didn’t take a seat, however, and instead chose to stand by the door.
There was another loud pop as Jack apperated back into the foyer while everyone settled into their spots.
“Sorry,” he said. “I had to scourgify my boots.”
Mr. Malfoy’s sneer turned even more disgusted than before, and Mr. Mercer even had to carefully hold that ‘I’m not evil’ smile on his face in light of the information. Ignoring them both, Jack sat down beside Lolly.
“Yes,” Mr. Mercer said and placed his briefcase and the bag onto the table. “I suppose we all know why here, then. Now that we have been able to locate Mr. Malfoy, we can get to the reading of Joyce Summers’ will.”
Buffy curiously looked at Mr. Malfoy. What did he have to do with her mother? She began to ask Lolly, but she simply smiled at Buffy reassuringly and turned her attention back to Mr. Mercer.
She also wondered why it was her mother’s will and not one for both her parents but decided not to ask.
“Normally,” Mr. Mercer said, “we would do this back at my office, but I have other clients here in Sunnydale that I need to speak with so this just seemed easier.”
Pulling out a piece of paper from his briefcase, Mr. Mercer began to read in a dry tone as if he were reading from the local paper and not her parent’s last wishes.
“I, Portia Joise Summers, being of sound mind and body, do here by leave my property and assets to my daughter, Buffy Anne Summers, which will be held in a trust until she come of legal age. I also request that the objects that are in my vault at Hathrone in San Francisco be given to her at this time.”
Pausing in his reading, Mr. Mercer reached into his bag and pulled out a large, wooden box. It had a puzzling lock, and Buffy wondered exactly how she was supposed to open it as Mr. Mercer handed it over.
“What’s Hathrone?” she asked.
Jack answered, “It’s a wizarding bank. One of the best in the country, actually.”
“Wizarding bank?” she asked. “My mother was a witch?”
Both Lolly and Jack seemed surprised by the revelation and thus could only shrug.
“I knew your father was a squib,” Lolly admitted, “but your mom never said…I mean, I never saw her practice before.”
A thought struck Buffy. “Does that mean I’m a witch?”
Lolly, however, was already shaking her head. “You’ve never shown any signs of being magical. We thought it was because your dad was a squib and your mom a muggle, but I guess we were wrong about that.”
“Quiet. Portia was very fine and powerful witch,” Mr. Malfoy said as he looked down at them.
It was the first time that he had spoken all evening, and Buffy quickly noticed his British accent. It sounded similar to the one that would sometimes let slip when she said certain words.
Just how did this guy know her mother?
As if he had been personally insulted, he added, “And she was most certainly not a muggle
Buffy had heard the term several times from her aunt and uncle, and she certainly didn’t know what about it could be insulting to anyone. Muggles, as far as she could tell, were just normal people. What could be so bad about being normal?
Mr. Malfoy’s sneer turned disappointed as he looked at Buffy as if he expected something better from her, but Buffy decided to ignore him and instead focus on the box. She took it in both hands and was about to start shaking it when she ran her thumbs along the front of the lock. As if it knew who she was, the lock clicked and the bar slid free and allowed her to open the top.
It was the strangest inside she had ever seen. She had expected a small amount of space, but what she found was actually that bottom extended pretty far down. There was also a lot of stuff in there: books, small little vials of liquid that seem to sparkle, a few oddities that Buffy had no idea what their purpose was for. The thing that caught her attention the most was a wooden stick. It was rather plain dark-colored wood with a handle, but Buffy recognized what it was. Her mother’s wand. Reaching inside, she took hold of it and brought it out.
“Joyce’s wand?” Jack asked.
“Yes,” Mr. Malfoy answered.
Buffy held it gently in her hands. She had heard Jack say that wands were something that were very special to the witch or wizard who wielded them. It was almost part of them. Buffy hadn’t really understood, but she did now. Just holding this thing she could almost sense her mom.
“I’m sorry to interrupt,” Mr. Mercer said and sounded as if he really weren’t, “but there is more.”
Buffy sniffled a little and nodded her head.
Clearing his throat, Mr. Mercer continued, “In the event that both I and my husband, Hank Summers, have died, I hereby leave custody of my minor daughter to my brother, Lucius Malfoy, until she comes of age.”
A heavy pause hung in the room. Both Jack and Lolly appeared absolutely stunned by the news. Buffy’s newly discovered uncle did not seem all that thrilled by it either.
Buffy herself just sat there. She blinked once. Then twice.
“What?” she then snapped and blindly swung her mother’s wand towards the side.
Later on, when someone would ask, she would tell them that this was the first bit of accidental magic that she ever preformed. It wasn’t surprising given her emotional state, but at the time Buffy had not known what had happened. All she knew that when she flung the wand to the side, and Lolly’s china cabinet exploded with a loud boom.
She stared at what she did and then said the only thing that someone who had just accidentally blown up a china cabinet could say.
The streets of Sunnydale clear pretty quickly after dark. The children that had been linger out in the sunshine until the last possible minute had finally retreated into their homes. Parents and adults had returned from work or shopping or whatever it was that they were doing and had safely returned to their own places of residence. Those that did go out at night either did so because they had no choice and were well armed, or they were muggles who didn’t have a clue as to what was out there.
A few teenagers from the local high school walked passed on there way to wherever it was that children their age hung out. The boys were laughing with one another, while the girls chatted about some insipid thing or another. He took note of their clothes, but not because he was very interested in teenage, muggle fashion. If a vampire or some other unpleasant creature were to go after them, they wouldn’t stand much of a chance.
Merrick waited until they had turned down the corner before he gave his moth wings and morphed back into his human form. Years of practice allowed him to easily keep his balance and not miss a step when he changed as he headed towards his car. Pulling his wand from his its hiding place up his sleeve, Merrick flicked it and caused the car to unlock and turned it on.
This was not good. This was not good at all.
Once inside the warming car, he picked up a muggle portable phone and began to dial the numbers that had been given to him earlier. After pressing several long sequences of numbers, he held the phone up to his ear and listened to it rang. He had to hand it to muggles, short of flooing someone, this was the fasted way he knew how to communicate with someone. And to think they figured out how to do it without the use of magic.
Following the third ring, someone answered.
“There’s a problem,” Merrick said in way of greeting. “I finally found the girl, but so has her uncle. And he’s gained custody of her.”
He paused and added, “It also appears that Ms. Summers might also be a witch.”
: I own nothing. Joss owns Buffy. J.K.R. owns Harry. Lolly isn't mine, either. Accroding to Buffy-wiki, she's Joyce's sister. I just changed the character a little.