Chapter 26: Of spoiled evenings and coming parties
Of spoiled evenings and coming partiesAN: Next, very short bit. I’m never sure what you’d like more – an update coming more often or a long chapter every now and then, so share :)
“What?” Giles asked, pulling off the fireplace he had been leaning onto.
“I don’t know,” Helen replied resigned, “I was quite certain it was in this book, but... it must have been somewhere else. I had so many in my hands during those auror-checks-“
“No, I mean – what did you say where did you find them?” He asked, his voice was urgent now.
She looked at him in surprise. “Hmm..., at one of the estates, we had been checking the houses and the properties of all of the Death Eaters, about-eh...,” she was trying to remember, everything from back then seemed to lie so long ago, although it’s only been over two years, “fifty or sixty households-“
“The name, what was the family’s name you just said?”
She looked confused now, not seeing what a name of a wizarding family would mean to him. “The Traverses, they’re one of the pure-bloods. The house of Secundus Travers was where I found the book, along with dozens of other suspicious volumes and objects.”
“Secundus,” George murmured shaking his head in amusement, “those freaks... Do they always have to punish their kids with such imbecile names?”
Helen laughed. “Yes, I’m afraid it’s part of their strategy to set themselves apart from the rest, from the commons, the wizarding plebs
as Lucius Malfoy called it. The Traverses always used to give their children Roman numerary names, so in each generation you’d find one Primus, one Secundus, Tertius, Quartus-“
“One Quentin,” Giles finished, his gaze was blank as Helen turned at him. She was about to correct him to Quintus
, but something about him startled her. Suddenly there was this cold, hard expression on his face that she remembered from the time when she had come to tell him about her nightly encounter with Darla and Angel, there was the same faint trace of bitter, even cruel smile, as if he had just recognized some terrible truth that had been out there for a long time, and felt fooled by it, betrayed.
“Hm,” George, who had been oblivious to their silent exchange while munching his cold supper, spoke casually, “shouldn’t it be Quen-ti-n-usss
Helen gave Giles a questioning look.
“Quentin-uh... is a... vulgarized version of-uh... Quintus.”
It took her a moment to understand. Quintus
or Quentin Travers
. Giles had mentioned him several times before, yet Helen never picked it up, never made the connection. Travers seemed to be a common enough name after all. But could it be a pure coincidence that the head of the Watchers Council wore a name worth of a member of a pure-blood wizarding family?
She opened her mouth to express her doubts, when suddenly the door was flung open and Xander and Willow burst in, breathless. Seeing the three people in the room they stopped abruptly and Willow seemed relieved, Xander rather disappointed and annoyed.
“You’re here,” he stated, pointing at Giles and still trying to catch his breath and sounding a bit huffish.
Giles looked from the one to the other, then said cautiosly: “Yes... I am aware of that... it is my apartment after all. Though nobody seem to care really,” he added quietly.
“Then what’s happened to your phone?” Xander asked.
“We tried to call you couple of times, there’s something wrong with it, we were worried, you know...” Willow said nervously.
“I-uh.... have unplugged it. For-uh.... rather obvious reasons,” Giles replied, giving all of the unwelcome guests a short look.
,” George greeted them cheerfully with one hand, while his other just grabbed another piece from his plate.
“What is it that you wanted?” Giles tried to ignore the young man. God, this evening is so not going how I imagined it...
“And please tell us you’re not hungry at least and don’t need any energy to leave,” Helen added, glaring at George who pretended not to have heard the reference to him.
Willow and Xander looked at each other confused. “No... thank you,” Willow said at last, not sure it was the right answer to the last remark. “We wanted to tell you that we will have to postpone Buffy’s party tomorrow.”
“What happened?” Giles asked concerned. “Is anything wrong with Buffy? She’s not ill or something? Or is it because of her dreams?”
“No!” Willow shook her head vehemently. “No, we didn’t cancel
it, Giles,” she said, the shock at that abysmal assumption was clear from her voice. “We just decided to postpone it after long and careful considerations concerning the length of the preparations that are necessary in order for it to be entirely perfect,” she explained.
Giles didn’t seem to understand, so Xander said to clarify: “We won’t start at five as we had agreed before, but at six.”
Now Giles looked incredulously.
“And you have to make sure that she doesn’t turn up there a minute too early,” Willow urged him.Surely this is but a nightmare and I will wake up soon, hopefully
, he thought, collecting himself innerly, so that he wouldn’t sound too harsh when he spoke: “And you couldn’t wait until tomorrow, to pass me this-uh...”, he took a deep breath, bloody stupid fiddling message
was pressing on his tongue, “... rather-uh... secondary information when we’d meet in the library?”
Willow wanted to defend them. “Well,” then she looked around them, noticed Helen in a black, rather festive dress, the fire in the fireplace, the cosy, dimmed lights, the two glasses of wine upon the coffee table, and she turned red as she put the hints together and realized what she and Xander might have interrupted. And George obviously as well. “We wanted to call you to tell you, but-but... your phone,” she pointed at the unplugged phone on Giles’ desk.
“Yes, how could we have known you have unplugged it?” Xander jumped in. “Besides, how could
you have unplugged it?!”
“I beg your pardon,” Giles said indignantly. Surely that was none of their business. He could treat his phone exactly as he chose to.
“We only meant,” Willow looked at him apologetically, her voice almost pleading, she could see that Giles was getting mad: she clearly heard the cluck-cluck sound his tongue did before, “you know – not working phones – we kinda have had bad expercience with that.” Her face turned into an anxious grimace that Giles had always found impossible to resist. “We were worried, ‘is all.”
He finally smiled faintly, the anger was fading.
“A-and we’re leaving, like now
,” she hurried to say and shot Xander a meaningful look.
“What about you, George?” Helen turned at him. “Catching some fresh air after the supper might do you good. Wouldn’t you like to join
them?” She asked pointedly.
“Wouldn't I?” George drawled. He was considering whether he had punished Helen enough now or not.
“Y-yes,” Giles suddenly spoke, trying very hard to sound as if he had only Willow’s and Xander’s welfare on his mind, “i-if you could-uh... accompany them at least for a part of their way home, that would be-uh... that would be very kind. It is already quite late and Sunnydale-“
“Yes, I get it,” George got up off the armchair, grinning, giving Helen the empty plate.
She said a quiet and meaningful “Thank you” that no one else except George could hear.
He glanced at her and said just as quietly to her “Don’t do anything stupid, dear,” while Giles was slowly walking with Willow and Xander towards the door.
“I’ll call Buffy in the morning to meet me in the library at 5:30,” he assured them. As a pretext he would tell her he might have discovered something related to that dream of hers.
“Great,” Willow replied, then gave him one last beaten look. “I’m sorry we bothered you,” she said sincerely.
“That’s alright,” he smiled. He thought it was somehow endearing that they had actually worried
Then finally George too reached the front door, there he bowed slightly to Giles, saying “Have a good night, Mr. Giles.” Giles decided that he must have merely imagined the wink George gave him.
“Good night, Mr. Weasley, have a safe-uh... journey back.”
George walked with the two teenagers, they were – quite enthusiastically – telling him about the party they had planned for Buffy.
“That sounds like Buffy’s in for a great gig, ‘ey?” He said.
“Yeah,” Xander said proudly. “Hey, you should come too!” He stopped and looked at Willow. “What do you think, Willow? Wouldn’t that be cool?”
Willow seemed reluctant. Given tonight she wasn’t sure what Giles and Helen would say. She looked at George a bit flustered. “I don’t know... Giles and Miss McGregor might-“
“What’ve they got to do with it? It’s Buffy’s party,” Xander said what seemed obvious to him. “And it’s not like we all have plenty of other friends to invite. Plus,” he turned at George, “you guys already know about Buffy being a Slayer, so there would be no danger in exposing that fact, should anything go wrong,” he said as if that was the end to it.
Willow was thinking it over. Yet Xander had his point. It was after all Buffy’s party. And having a couple of real wizards there... she smiled to herself... could actually be quite fun. “Alright then,” she consented at last and looked up at George who had been watching them curiously.
“I would simply love to come,” he said grinning. If only to see Helen’s and Mr. Giles’ face, he thought.
“Great!” Xander exclaimed. “Could you bring some of the stuff you had told me about the other day? From your shop? You know, to spice things up a little.”
“’course,” George said casually.
“And bring your friends along, Hermione, and Ron,” Willow reminded him.
“Ron’s not my friend
,” he said appalled. “Come to think of it neither is Hermione,” he murmured under his nose. “But... if I have to, I’ll bring them. But I cannot promise you anything. Hermione usually prefers studying of any kind to parties... of any kind, and Ron might have to work, but... since that is really up to me, maybe I’ll feel generous enough to free him for one night.” He noticed that Willow turned and pink and appeared to want to ask something else. “What?”
“Could you... perhaps... I-I mean only if it’s no trouble...”, she began.
“What should be?”
“Could you bring Harry Potter?” She asked in a small voice, feeling a little embarrassed. She had been fascinated by the other Chosen One since she had read the article in the Daily Prophet about a year ago and was entirely excited to find out that George, Ron and Hermione were in fact friends with Harry. She was now thrilled by the idea that she could meet him. Surely Buffy wouldn’t mind...
George smiled bemused, then shrugged. “I don’t see why not. I’ll call in on him... Although in that case I might have to bring along my sister Ginny as well.”
“Yes, I don’t think she’d let him go all on his own to a party if she knew that there’ll be a cute Sunnydale gal
eager to make his acquaintance,” he said seriously, his eyes though were laughing.
“Oh,” Willow turned even more red, not only because no one has ever before called her a gal
, “I-I didn’t... that’s not...,” she stuttered, she hasn’t been thinking of if like that of course. Her interest in Harry was what one might call purely scientific, she was after all having a date with Oz.
“I know,” George calmed her and chuckled. He didn’t doubt for a moment that if Harry would come, he’d rather be in for a long session of questioning and talking about his Chosen-One-ness rather than for some extensive flirt attempts or coquettish stolen glances on the part of the redhead girl. “Although you should he fancies readheads, Harry does.” He added and enjoyed the horrified expression on Willow’s face. “Only joking,” he laughed, then turned more serious, she had suffered enough. “I’ll see what I can do. I’m sure if he’s not busy, he’ll come.”
“Uh-yes, good, a-and you can of course bring your sister-eh... Ginny... as well,” Willow said to make clear once more that she had no romantic interests whatsoever in Harry Potter.
“And Angel will also be there,” Xander changed the topic, “so you’ll be welcome to test your magic on him... You could try turning him into a toad. Or make his face covered in boils.” Willow hit him into his side.
“Sounds like fun,” George said.
“Don’t listen to him,” Willow said reprehensively and slapped Xander gently on his arm again. “He’s just jealous.”
When they were finally left alone, Giles excused himself for a moment and disappeared. Helen wasn’t sure what to do, feeling a little awkward and wondering whether the evening could still be saved somehow, she had her doubts. Sighing heavily she headed towards the kitchen and there let on water into the sink and, feeling the frustration coming up from the completely spoilt date, she began to wash the dishes with her bare hands for the first time in her life. She was deepened in thoughts and didn’t hear him returning.
“I didn’t think you could do that without magic.” She was startled as she heard his voice right behind her and felt his warm breath on her neck.
She shivered impalpably, her stomach jumped up several inches, and she thought it was the most wonderful sensation. She gulped. “Well, I’d been watching you the other day, I didn’t seem too...,” she exhaled as he suddenly put his left hand on her waist and she could feel the gentle strokes of his fingers upon the fabric of her dress, “... complicated.” The last word merged into the faint gasp she let out when the same hand moved a few inches downwards to rest on her hip as if it had always belonged there.
“Hm,” is all she heard for reply, just before his lips briefly brushed the skin on her neck. She closed her eyes, feeling her knees trembling slightly. “Let’s see,” he whispered in her ear, “what have we got here,” the sound of his deep voice alone was spreading excitement through her, she could swear she would probably melt down if he would only continue talking
like that. It wasn’t the first time that she felt like that voice had effects on her no touch could arouse.
Then his right hand slipped between her waist and her right arm that was leaning onto to sink to keep standing. For a second he then dipped his fingers into the water and right afterwards Helen heard his smile. She furrowed her brows, puzzled, just as he pressed another kiss on her neck. Then he grasped her waist with both hands and turned her around to see her face at last. He was staring into her eyes, hesitating for a moment whether to say something or not.
Her heart was throbbing. For some reason she had never felt so attracted to him as right now, right there.
He pulled her tighter into his embrace, and bent down to kiss her on her lips, then looked at her sheepishly, his hazel-green eyes were beaming, there was so much affection in that look that she found herself almost unearthly happy to be looking in them.
Then he whispered into her ear: “You might try it with hot
... water next time.”AN: Thank you for reading. I’m rather curious what you think, I couldn’t decide myself how I found this last part or whether I'm still staying in character, esp. with Giles. So please leave a review, on anything, they make my day, also critics are most welcome too.
I’m also looking for some Betas, so if anyone would like to point out some mistakes, grammar, spelling to me, don’t hesitate.
So, hopefully until soon :)