Title: A Different Kind of Christmas
Disclaimer: I own nothing. All I have are my pens and my pride.
Category: BtVS/Harry Potter Crossover
Pairing: Not much of one, but Willow/Sirius
Spoilers: My own world for Buffy, Prisoner of Azkaban for HP
Summary: Sirius encounters a strange group of people on Christmas.
Authors note: Just felt like writing a little Christmas fic after not being able to write for months. Hope you guys enjoy this little fragment of my mind.
This was more than just an odd place.
There was something not quite right about it. The sun was shining brightly in the sky and a cool breeze whipped gently through the air. It was, in fact, a rather pleasant day.
Which was why it was so strange.
It was Christmas, that much he knew. A holiday that was traditionally associated with snow and winter and all things not involving the sun. Children were meant to be out on the lawn making snow angels, not playing with strange balls filled with water. And young ladies certainly weren’t meant to show that much skin at this time of the year. Or at any other time. It was almost indecent.
To say he felt a little lost was an understatement. Here he was, virtually alone in a foreign land surrounded by a culture he was almost wholly unaware of. And the fact that his only companion was a strange looking creature that would attract more attention than he would did not help his situation.
His stomach growled loudly. It had been days since his last decent meal. Even in animal form he wasn’t able to find anything remotely close to satisfying. He knew his companion was hungry, and was starting to get a little worried about the strange glint in its eye. This in mind, he decided to stay in human form while he hid. After all, no one here would recognise him, right?
He knew his decision was a mistake the second the shadow fell over him from behind. Peering up from his position behind the tree, he locked eyes with the figure smirking down at him.
“Well, what do we have here?”
* * * * * * * * *
Willow Rosenberg gritted her teeth and shut her eyes. She counted to ten before opening them again. She could handle this. She was a big girl. She’d faced mean witches and evil boyfriend-stealing werewolves before. She could easily deal with this situation calmly.
Apparently she was the only one who felt that way. Looking around the living room, she saw four other people who were dealing a little differently.
Xander was banging his head against the wall. Dawn sat on the couch, trying to crank the volume on her Discman to the highest level. Buffy sat next to her, tapping her fingers on the armrest and eyeing the axe in the corner of her eye with longing.
Anya was the only one to vocalise her thoughts. “Can’t we just kill them?”
Xander stopped the self-assault on his head. “Anya, we can’t kill them. You know that.”
“But they’re annoying. Why can’t we make them go away?”
“Because they won’t,” Xander answered in a dull tone. “It doesn’t matter what we do or say, they’ll just keep coming back. Like Mormons.”
“Oh, come on guys,” Willow tried to sound cheerful. “It’s not that bad.”
Four sets of eyes glared at her.
“Oh no,” Buffy moaned. “It’s starting again.” She buried her face in her hands as the dreaded event began.
“Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa la la la la la la la la. . . “
Panic flashed over Dawn’s face as she realised her Discman’s volume level reached its maximum. She looked at her sister helplessly.
“. . . tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la la la la la. . . “
“Damn these Christmas carollers!” Xander burst out. “Why do they exist? Are they like a cult? Hey, maybe they’re some kind of holiday demon and Buffy can take them out. “
“That’s what I said before,” Anya grumbled under her breath.
“They’re just trying to spread cheer,” Willow pointed out. “There’s no harm in that.”
“If they wanted to spread cheer, why don’t they just give out money?” Anya asked. “I know that would make me happy.”
At that moment, the kitchen door opened and Faith’s voice was heard. “Hey guys, come see what I found.”
Nobody moved. They were all too despondent over the endless cycles of Christmas carols coming from the front yard. After about a minute of waiting, Faith called out again, a notably impatient whine in her tone. “Oh, come on. I’ve got something interesting here. So get in here already.”
Exchanging curious looks the group made their way to the kitchen where they found Faith standing next to a dishevelled looking man with dirty black hair. The room was silent.
“Faith,” Buffy said slowly, trying to control herself. “Why is there a hobo in my kitchen?”
“This ain’t no hobo,” the brunette told her. “At least, I don’t think he is. I was out the back having a smoke and saw this guy hiding behind a tree. “
“So you just invited him in? What’s with the crazy Samaritan act? Why don’t you go and ask those insane carollers to come in too?”
Dawn shuddered at the thought of the carollers inside the house. “That’s not funny, Buffy. Don’t even joke about it.”
“Hold on, you should hear this guys story first. It’s like, totally whacked.” Faith indicated for the man to talk.
He sighed as though he was reluctant to share his story. But one look at the Slayer’s face told him not to disobey. “My name is Sirius Black. I mean no harm, I was just looking for some food to eat.”
They all waited for him to continue, but he closed his mouth. It was clear that was all he intended to say. Buffy raised an eyebrow. “That’s the great story? Faith, did you just bring him in here to listen to the accent?”
A grin spread over Faith’s features. “Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t. But you should hear his other story. The interesting one.” She gave Sirius a pointed look.
He sighed again. “Obviously I am not from this country. I am from the wizarding world.”
Silence filled the room again. That one statement was, in simple terms, completely unexpected. Xander broke the silence. “Does that mean you have like, a wand or staff or that kind of thing?”
“Not a staff. I used to have a wand, but not anymore.”
“Oh.” Xander didn’t know what to say next. Neither did anyone else. The solemn look on the older mans face meant that he was telling the truth or he really believed his own story.
Faith wasn’t swayed by the uncertainty in the room. She was actually excited and began bouncing on the balls of her feet. “Do the trick, do the trick!”
“The trick?” Xander repeated. “What, does he juggle balls of fire of something?”
“No,” Sirius answered wearily. Without speaking, he transformed into a large black dog before their eyes. Allowing the group to take in the change, he waited several minutes before returning to his human form. “I would never let a muggle see me do that, but it was the only way I could convince your friend not to assault me,” he explained.
“You’re a shape shifter,” Anya observed. “Interesting.”
“Actually, I’m an Animagus.”
“I don’t know what that is, but that was so awesome,” Dawn breathed, eyes wide.
“Awesome or not, you were still creeping around in my backyard,” Buffy said. “What are you doing at my house?”
Sirius hesitated before answering. “My companion and I are. . .travelling and we somehow managed to end up here. Purely accidental. I’m afraid we’re a little lost.”
“’Travelling’?” Faith snorted. “That’s bull. I used that excuse all the time. You’re so on the run.”
Buffy’s eyes narrowed and bore into Sirius’. “Are you? Because if you are –“
Her threat was cut off by Dawn’s piercing scream. Wincing, the blonde turned to her sister. “Blast out my eardrum why don’t –holy crap!”
Her eyes were fixed on the creature standing outside the kitchen window. It looked like a combination of a horse and an eagle, with its bright orange eyes staring at the group inside. Xander stepped in front of the girls as though to shield them from the creature and Buffy motioned to Dawn. “Get the axe!” she ordered.
“No!” All eyes turned to Sirius. “This creature is my companion. I assure you, he’s not dangerous.”
“Not dangerous?” Buffy looked at him incredulously. “This thing is like a mini-sphinx gone wrong. If it’s not a demon –“
“He’s not a demon.”
“What is it?” Dawn asked.
“Well, it ain’t no reindeer now is it?” Faith said, sarcasm in her voice. “How come I didn’t see this thing earlier?”
“This is Buckbeak. He’s a hippogriff. A hippogriff is a magical creature from the wizarding world. I left him in the woodland nearby to find some food and he must have followed me here somehow.”
“You know, it’s kind of freaky looking in a cool way,” Xander observed.
“Sure, if you like strangely bred things,” Anya said, looking closely at the hippogriff at the window. “Actually, it kind of reminds me of a demon I once knew.”
Sirius waited as the group continued to stare at Buckbeak. Then the blonde’s eyes were on him again. “Why are you on the run?”
Damn. She was smarter than she looked. “I was framed for a crime I did not commit. My godson helped me escape with Buckbeak.” He noted the distrust in her eyes and held back another weary sigh. “I understand if you don’t believe me. I did not wish to intrude on you like this, especially at Christmas. I will leave –“
“Wait.” It was the redhead who stopped him. The one who looked at him with absolute wonder and interest in her eyes. She turned to the blonde. “Buff, he’d got nowhere to go and it’s Christmas. I know this isn’t my holiday and all, but isn’t the whole point of it to not be alone?”
The blonde sighed. “I don’t know, Will. This is Sunnydale. Who knows what this guy might be or what he could do. He could be dangerous.”
Sirius found it interesting that they were talking about him as though he wasn’t standing directly in front of him. He brushed it off as an American thing.
“You know we can take care of ourselves, Buffy,” the redhead said. “Just for today?”
The blonde looked reluctant, but gave in. “Okay.” She turned to Sirius. “You can stay here the night if you want. But if you try anything, I’ll kill you. And I’ll get Faith to help.”
Sirius was a little surprised at the force of her words. Not to mention the grin on the brunette’s face. “Thank you,” was all he said.
“Guess you’re probably pretty hungry, hey?” the young man led him to the fridge. “I’m Xander. We’ve got some of Dawn’s cooking here, but I’d avoid that so –“
“Uh, Xan?” the young teenager piped up. “Maybe Sirius should clean up first. No offence, but you kind of smell like. . . dog. “
Sirius’ features broke into a grin and Xander led him to the bathroom. On his way there, he heard a faint sound coming from the front of the house.
“. . . fa la la la la la la la la. . . “
* * * * * * * * *
“Check it out, Faith made egg nog.”
Dawn’s observation brought Faith walking into the living room with a large jug in her hand and a big grin on her face. “You know, I’ve never done this before,” she said. “I think I kind of like this Christmas crap.”
Willow took the jug from Faith and sniffed the contents. “Faith, this is like, half rum.”
The brunette shrugged. “Egg nog, Faith style.”
The witch peered closely at the Slayer. “Are you drunk?”
The smile on the brunette’s face grew bigger. “No.”
Willow shook her head at the blatant lie and handed her back the jug. Faith just shrugged again and wandered over to where Sirius sat. “Dude, want some nog?”
Without waiting for an answer, she poured him a mug full of the liquid and handed it to him. Some of the drink sloshed over the tip of the mug and onto his hand, but she didn’t seem to notice. “You know what? You’re pretty lucky.”
Sirius looked warily at the drink and at the liquid dripping from his hand. If this girl was going to watch him drink, then he sure didn’t feel lucky. “How so?”
Faith plonked down next to him, taking a swig from the jug. “See, the one house you creep around at, you find yourself with two slayers, a key, a former demon, a witch and a construction worker. So not only can we kill and break things, we can also fix it up right after. So we’re all freaks.” She grinned and slapped him on the back.
Sirius let out a grunt at the slap to his back. “There’s a witch in here?”
“Yeah. Willow. Redheaded chick over there.” Faith pointed across the room.
Sirius was suddenly very interested. “Does she have a wand?”
Faith stared at him blankly for a few seconds as if trying to understand his words. “Is that an English wizarding way of asking if she’s got a thing? ‘Cause I can pretty much tell you she’s a chick all the way.”
“What? Oh –no, I –never mind.” Slightly flustered, Sirius looked away. He wasn’t used to girls being so forward and open. Maybe it all had something to do with all the rum she’d been drinking.
Buffy entered the room, a bright smile on her face. “Man, I love that hippogriff. He’s such a cool animal thing.”
Sirius’ reply was stopped by a sound coming from the front yard. A sound that made the whole room grow silent.
“Oh come all ye faithful. . . “
The smile faded from Buffy’s face.
“. . .joyful and triumphant. . . “
Dawn began to panic again.
“. . . come ye, oh come ye to Bethlehem. . .”
Xander stood up, defiance on his face. “We don’t have snowballs, but maybe we can throw other things at them.” Without wasting another second, he grabbed the jug full of Faith’s egg nog and bounded towards the door.
“Hey!” Faith shouted, racing after him. “Get your own!”
“. . .come and behold –hey!!”
Buffy, Dawn and Anya bolted outside to watch as Xander frightened the carollers away. By the time Sirius reached the door, the young carollers had run off screaming. Faith had leapt onto Xander’s back, trying to get the ewer of egg nog back.
“Come on, Xander!” Anya shouted. “Be a man! Don’t let her win!”
Sirius heard a giggle need to him and realised Willow was standing beside him, watching the scene on the lawn with amusement.
“Don’t mind us,” she said to him. “This is just how we muggles, as you call us, are.”
Her eyes flicked up to something above his head and before he had the chance to look up to see what it was, Willow stood on her tiptoe and kissed him lightly on the cheek.
She smiled at him. “Merry Christmas, Sirius.”
The she hopped of the porch and joined Anya in her encouragement of Xander. By now, Faith had him in a headlock.
There was a grin on Sirius’ face, for reasons he could and couldn’t understand. He was away from everything that was familiar to him and was alone in a foreign land, surrounded by some of the strangest people he’d ever met.
And to be honest, it wasn’t that bad.