Buffy was double checking everything she had prepared for her stay-date with Theo. There was pizza, chips and dip, some drinks, and some sweet snacks for munching on. She was dressed in a simple peasant top and jeans, not even bothering with shoes. This was just a casual night of eating and talking. It would do them good. Now she just needed to wait for Theo and stop worrying.
He’d changed clothes several times, but had finally settled on a light jumper and jeans. He didn’t want to wear his usual button up shirt. She always saw those. She had insisted he not bring anything, but Theo couldn’t just not
bring her something. It was impolite, so he’d gotten her some flowers. Nothing fancy. Just something pretty and colorful.
Theo smoothed a hand over his hair and knocked on her door. There was a group of slayers walking by that giggled at him. Theo sighed loudly and rolled his eyes. He would really have to try to get her to let him take her out somewhere next time; away from so many curious eyes.
Buffy brushed her fingers through her hair before going to open the door. She saw the flowers he had in his hands and smiled. “Thank you for the flowers. You didn’t have to.” She took a step back to allow him to enter the room. “I’ll go find a vase for them.”
“Yes, I did,” Theo replied. “You always bring a lady something when you come to call.”
He rolled his eyes at himself. He kind of sounded pompous, but Theo didn’t know how else to be. Sure, he raised the dead, but he’d had his manners beaten into him, sometimes literally, from his birth.
She sent him an amused grin over her shoulder as she padded into the kitchen, searching for a vase. Since she really didn’t have a need for one, all she had was a quart of milk that had maybe half a cup of milk let. She quickly dumped the milk and rinsed it out before filling it up with water. When she walked back out to the living room, she shrugged. “I’ll borrow a proper vase from Willow. This was all I had.”
Buffy took the flowers from him and put them in her makeshift vase. “Have a seat and dig in. I’ve got plenty of stuff. Ice is in the kitchen.”
Theo grabbed a butterbeer and sat down, pleased that she had them. A simple as it seemed, it was one of his favorite things. He was going to wait for her to get her food first, though. It was the polite thing.
“Can I get you some ice or anything?” he asked, unbelievably nervous for some reason.
“Nope,” she said, grabbing a Diet Coke and popping the top, not even bothering to pour it into a cup. “I’m just fine with the cans. I just got them out of the fridge. You can pass me a plate though.”
He handed her the whole stack and she took one off the top. “I got everything but anchovies and olives, because blech. I figured we could save the snacks for after the main course.”
Buffy took a bite and as she pulled the pizza away, a string of cheese refused to break. It finally snapped when her pizza slice was almost at arms’ length. “And extra cheese. Forgot about that.”
Theo was a bit leery of eating with no utensils, but he did. The pizza was very cheesy. His did the same thing, only his strand did do anything near as graceful as hers. It snapped off and hit his chin, hanging down like an odd cheese beard.
He nearly cursed aloud as he grabbed for a napkin.
Buffy chuckled. “Having some problems there, slick?”
“I’m quite fine, thank you,” Theo said and decided to be more vigilant about the cheese.
It took him a few bites, but he managed to be able to start eating without looking like a total moron. Theo was trying desperately to think of something to say, but he couldn’t think of anything that didn’t sound forced or utterly ridiculous in his head.
She wasn’t used to eating in silence. She only did that when she ate completely alone, and even then she either had the radio or TV on for the noise. After she swallowed her bite, Buffy decided to break the silence.
“So, tell me something about you. Something so completely mundane that you think I wouldn’t care a thing about it. Like...do you always put one shoe on before the other? Have an aversion to odd or even numbers? Something like that.”
“I...” Theo could not think of a single thing to say. “Well, I’m really sort of boring. Um, I don’t think I have a shoe routine. Numbers aren’t really an issue. I normally don’t eat with my hands.”
He held up his greasy fingers for her to see.
“I like butterbeer,” he said, holding up the bottle. “It’s probably one of my favorite things to drink. I always read half an hour before going to sleep. Doesn’t matter what.”
“Really?” she asked making a face. “What, the newspaper? Or a book? I only read if it’s research so that’s not really appropriate bedtime reading.”
“Either,” Theo replied. “But I’m not fond of the paper. They print the most ridiculous tripe. I’m fond of novels, actually. What about you?”
“Well,” she said after a moment. “I don’t really have a bedtime ritual. Well, it depends. If I’m patrolling and encounter...anything, really, I always take a shower and scrub all the blood and dust off of me. Then I do stretches so I’m not too sore. Yoga, mostly.”
Buffy finished off a slice of pizza and reached for another. Since they had a rapport of each asking a question, she continued. “What is the dumbest thing you’ve had to heal. Like, has any kid shoved a stick up their nose or something?”
“Dung bomb. This moron was dared to eat one. He did. It went off and he was burping foul stench and throwing up. It was the worst.”
She laughed, thankful she had a strong stomach. “That’s terrible. Okay, your turn to ask a question.”
“I know you’re fond of shoes. Is there anything else I should know about? Any other odd things you collect?”
“I save all the demon heads from the beings I kill and Willow shrinks them for me.” At his horrified look, Buffy cracked up laughing. “I’m joking. Clothing is my only weakness. Although I guess you could say I collect weapons. The sharper the better.”
“Really? Do you have a favorite? Weapon, I mean, though if you have a favorite shirt or pair of knickers I’m not opposed to hearing about it.”
Deciding that since she had finished yet another slice, she could have some show and tell time. Buffy pointed to the wall where the scythe was displayed. Putting it in a chest just didn’t feel right. “That is my scythe. I used it to defeat the First Evil. That’s also the weapon that allowed Willow to activate all the slayers. It’s my baby.”
Theo raised a brow. “That held an essence in it? I suppose I should believe such a thing. The Sais of Sun have dark energy, so does Clarent, but Caledfwlch is different. That one sings a water song.”
Theo exhaled nervously and took a drink from his butterbeer.
Buffy nodded and took a drink from her own can. “And that’s why we guard it. Willow can’t go there, either. That Snape dude had to practically pull her out of there when we were there for the reveal. Kasie had to make a distraction and we almost got thrown out of the museum.”
“None of those weapons called to you? I would have thought that Caledfwlch or as you know it - Excaliber would have. Just like the sais call to those who have darkness, that sword is a champion’s weapon.”
Theo gave her an assessing look. He’d never seen anyone more a champion in his entire life.
“Mmm, they all called to me, each in their own way,” she confirmed, thinking back to the day they walked through the security route each slayer would take. “They still do, when I decide to do a round. I can feel the energy they emit. It’s like a hum or a vibration that makes my skin tingle. Living on a Hellmouth for seven years means I can feel the energy more than the younger, non-magical slayers can. But they aren’t mine
, not like that one.”
Theo nodded. That’s how he felt around dead bodies. He could hear their stories, feel their residual energy, but he didn’t think that would be the best thing to announce right now. Not that he would never tell her such things, but she was finally talking to him without a betrayed look on her face. He didn’t want to spoil the moment.
“Your turn,” he said.
She sighed and leaned back into the couch they were sitting on. “Okay, uh...favorite subject in school. And you can’t say lunch.”
“Charms,” he answered without pause. “That’s um, basically wand work. I needed a steady hand to be a healer, and I had it. Really the only competition I had was Granger and probably Padma Patil. Malfoy is fast, but I’m precise.”
“Huh,” she said thoughtfully before popping a chip into her mouth. “Your turn.”
“What’s your favorite place here in our world? Like in Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade?”
“I’ve never been to the hog place but I did like Diagon Alley. Besides the date we had, I’ve only ever shopped there twice. The only other times were to go to Knockturn Alley.” Buffy thought hard about all the places she had gone. “Oh, there was the flying broom game. That was cool. They’re all insane, but cool.”
“You’ve never been to Hogsmeade? Well, I certainly know where we’re going next time. You have to go into Three Broomsticks and dance, and get chocolates from Honeyduke’s. Knockturn Alley is not a proper representation.”
“Sounds like a plan,” she said. Buffy debated getting more pizza or just snacking for the rest of the night. There was only so long they could dance around the heavy subjects and she had a feeling they were coming to those pretty quick. There were only so many mundane questions she could ask. “My turn. What’s your favorite holiday?”
“Oh bugger,” Theo muttered. “It’s Halloween.”
The look upon her face was priceless.
“Let me explain,” he said. “We always had a huge feast at Hogwarts with special foods on Halloween, and I liked it. It’s... also my birthday.”
“Oh,” she replied after a moment. “We try not to celebrate my birthday. Bad things happen. So your birthday already happened? I missed it?”
“I try not to celebrate mine either, but it was interesting to have a troll show up. Again.”
Buffy laughed. “Actually, that was right on par with our Halloweens. It was like we never left home.”
“That was my feeling on it,” Theo said, chuckling. “I’m sure Malfoy felt the same. Probably MacDougal, Zabini and Abbott too. It happened when we were first years. Though, I would not revisit some parts of those years for the world.”
“Well, there were parts of high school I would rather forget. I think everyone has those moments,” Buffy confessed.
“Yes, but I think our moments aren’t regular people moments. Sometimes I wished I didn’t have magic, that I was a Squib. They’d have sent me away, and I might have had a normal life. But then I think I wouldn’t have known my sister Carolyn. Or WIllow or Snape. Or you. I wouldn’t know you. It bothers me that sometimes I can sense the residual aura that used to be a person lingering around a body, but what if that’s who I am meant to be? Caro talked about the Fates a lot. Perhaps I am supposed to be here... with you... raising the dead.”
The light questions had ended. Buffy pulled a leg up on the couch and wrapped her hands around it. “I’ve gone through too many prophecies that I know I will always fight for my own destiny, but who knows. Sometimes there are things that happen no matter what.”
She looked over at him carefully. “Are you going to continue to practice?”
“I don’t know,” Theo answered honestly. “Something has to be done. I mean, I’ve raised two people quite by accident, and those are just the ones I know about. What if I have some sort of breakdown and raise half the dead in WIltshire? It has to be contained somehow. That night I had it. If that wave of dark magic hadn’t hit me, I’d have kept it, too. It wasn’t out of my control until that happened.”
“And unfortunately, we can’t guarantee that another wave won’t happen,” Buffy said, thinking of Willow or another big bad that they could fight in the future. “Is Giles still keeping you on a tight leash?”
“Yes, but I am learning to cope with that. I don’t like being monitored. I never have. It reminds me of my father. I never meant to frighten or upset you, you know that, right?”
She nodded. “I know. And I know that saying I don’t like people keeping things from me is kind of hypocritical because you don’t know all the different parts that make me me, but...we were so worried about the zombies and we had the answer all along. I know why you kept it a secret and really, I’m over it. I am.”
“You’re right. I don’t know you. Not yet. I honestly thought you’d kill me, and I couldn’t bear that. You’re a weakness for me. You could very well be used against me, and that bothers me, but I can’t make it stop. I don’t think I want to.”
Buffy didn’t let the admission that Theo thought she was capable of killing him hurt her because he didn’t know her. He didn’t know her morals or ethics yet. She would just have to show him.
“And I don’t think you should. You’re not done baking yet. You’re still cookie dough and the zombie thing is just another ingredient in your batter.”
Theo made a face at her. “I’m sorry... what? What’s with the dough and batter? Do you require pastries? I certainly go get you some.”
She grinned. “No, it’s...it’s a metaphor I told a friend once. I’m not done being what I am going to be. I’m like cookie dough.” Buffy paused. “Or biscuit dough, I guess, for you. I’m not done baking. And every thing I do, every choice I make, is just one more ingredient in my dough. And someday, I’ll realize that I’m done. I’m a cookie. But that’s way into the future. I’ve been baking for a while.”
“Have I mentioned that along with butterbeer, I do like eating raw batter,” Theo said playfully before taking a drink.
Buffy rolled her eyes. “I do too, but that’s not the point. No eating raw Buffy.” She made a face. “You know what I mean, so shush.”
Theo was chuckling. “Are you certain? I wouldn’t go knocking it until you’ve let me try it.”
Innuendo must be a Slytherin thing. They were all quite good at it... even without much practice.
She glared at him playfully. “Pass me another slice of pizza. I’m still hungry.” She had done her work out earlier than normal so the munchies were hitting her earlier. “And stop messing up my metaphors.”
“Well, I could mess with other things,” Theo said as he handed her another slice. “But you’ve told me I can’t have dessert. No biscuits for Theo. Not even crumbs.”
“Wow, you can’t let the cookie thing go, can you?” Buffy asked, taking a bite of her pizza. “I didn’t say no dessert. I’ve got tons of candy stashed away. Just no cookies.”
“I don’t want to let the cookie thing go,” he said, taking a bit of her hair in his fingers and playing with it. “I thought I’d made it perfectly clear that I rather like the cookie thing. Even if she suspects she’s not fully baked yet.”
She had just taken a bite of pizza so she couldn’t have felt more unsexy. Buffy swallowed quickly and was thankful that she didn’t choke. “There is no suspecting. I know. I think I won’t be fully baked until I die. For good. There’s too many adventures to be had that could change me.”
“I just want to be let into the bakery,” he quipped.
He was probably going to take the biscuit thing too far, but it just so happened to be the most interesting analogy he’d ever heard.
in the bakery,” she said, exasperated. “Although the doors will soon be closing. Here, have some more pizza.” Buffy stuffed her half-eaten slice in his mouth.
Theo took the piece of pizza from her. He’d never thought of the cheesy grease bread mixture as particularly seductive as far as food choices, but he might have to change his mind about that.
“Anywhere near the kitchen?”
To save herself from answering, she reached out and grabbed a handful of chips, quickly eating them. She shrugged in response then gestured for him to continue talking.
“Are you putting things in your mouth to avoid answering my questions.” And then he realized what he’d just said. “That came out a bit wrong, didn’t it?”
Buffy glared at him, since she couldn’t retort. So she flipped him off.
Theo raised a brow. “Was that an invitation? I thought I wasn’t getting to play in the dough. You’re giving off some very mixed signals, Cookie.”
He’d scooted closer to her. Theo liked this. He’d never been particularly playful with anyone in his life.
She finally swallowed her chips. “We are here to talk, not poke fun at cookie metaphors. I don’t suppose you have a life metaphor that I can know about?”
“I was not poking,” Theo said. “I think you’d know if I were.”
He smirked at her then. This was a face all Slytherins possessed. It was somehow genetically imprinted within each of them.
“Oh dear god,” she groaned, leaning back into the couch. “Really? Although I guess I walked right into that one.”
“I like the cookie thing. It suits you. I like you for that matter. You know the other reason I went out with you initially? I knew it would brass Malfoy off. He’s very particular about his people. Now it’s just a bonus that he doesn’t like it.”
Buffy rolled her eyes again. “You’re all so possessive and protective. You can’t stand each other. You claim to dislike Blaise and Draco but if something happens to them, you will pitch a fit. I’m not saying I don’t get it, because I felt that way about someone from my old gang, but you take it to a whole new level.”
“It’s how we’re built, and I do not like Malfoy or Zabini. The only one of the lot I can actually stand is Pansy.” Theo considered a moment. “Would you mind being protected? Would that bother you? I would assume you are quite used to being the one who is protecting, but would you ever want to be coddled... just for a few moments?”
She thought carefully before she answered. “There were times in my life when I really, really wanted to take a break and let someone else be the strong one. But I found out that when I let that happen, I got irritated and critical. I don’t know if there’s a healthy in between for me. I don’t like holding back. Would that bother you
“Not being in control? It used to, and sometimes I have feelings of irritation and even panic about it, but I suppose I am learning. I’m not terribly unpredictable. I don’t relish chaos. You make me feel uncertain a lot of times, but I don’t mind it if it involves you. It’s funny to me.” Theo thought carefully about how to word what he wanted to say. “I feel I am not particularly in control of my impulses when I am with you. It’s a source of concern, but also delight.”
“Chaos follows me and I don’t keep people around who hold me back. Hold me in check, yes, because sometimes I do push things too far, but I don’t plan far ahead. I live very much in the moment because that moment could change at any second.” Buffy sighed. “My entire life is one big ball of uncertainty. If you want to back out, I’d understand.”
Theo made a face. “Who said anything about backing out? Where else am I going to find a woman willing to put up with the raising of the dead thing?”
“You’d be surprised,” she said dryly. “But I guess I do understand better than most, uncertainty and all.”
“I’m not good about being open or sharing things,” Theo said. “It’s not in my nature. I’m distrustful. I’m working on that, however. I’ll try not to keep anything very important from you again. That’s about the best I can offer now. I’ll understand if that’s not enough.”
She couldn’t fault him for that. As much as she was a bad secret-keeper, she had a habit of keeping the important stuff to herself.
“How about this,” Buffy offered as she sat up. “Why don’t we each tell the other one thing that we’ve never told another person. It doesn’t even have to be a big, huge secret. It could be a small thing. I’ll even go first if you want.”
“All right,” Theo said, a bit uncomfortable. “You can definitely go first.”
She tried to hold back the grin. “Okay. During the last fight against the First Evil, I put Mr. Gordo in my personal weapons bag for good luck. No one knows he survived the final battle.”
Theo frowned. “Who in the hell is Mr. Gordo? And how did you fit him in a bag? Was it a shrinking spell? And what kind of ponce hides in a bag while the woman fights an apocalyptic battle?”
After biting her lip and debating on whether she should really show him, Buffy stood. “He’s in my bedroom. I’ll go get him,” she replied heading into the bedroom to get Mr. Gordo from the closet.
“What?” Theo said, sitting up straight.
He was instantly a bit jealous... of a stuffed pig. She was holding a stuffed animal, and it was a little pink pig. Theo made a face at her.
“This is Mr. Gordo. Mr. Gordo, this is Theo.” Buffy snickered at the look on Theo’s face. “You totally thought it was a person, didn’t you?”
“Well, you spoke of him with such affection. I can’t believe I was jealous of a stuffed pig. There. That’s mine. I was jealous of your stuffed animal.”
She made a face at him.
“Oh don’t because you know as well as I do how much mocking would be involved if Malfoy ever found that out. It’s a legitimate secret.”
Buffy came over to sit, still holding Mr. Gordo. “That’s your freebie. You only get one of those. Be grateful. If I was a lesser person, I would make you apologize to him. I might still do that for you dragging out the cookie thing.”
Theo quirked one brow at her. “You do realize the pig isn’t a live thing, yes?”
She covered the pig’s ears. “Don’t hurt his feelings. He’s sensitive.”
“Oh dear,” he muttered, worried look upon his face.
She was possibly a tad mental, which meant she was a little more right for him than he’d suspected.
Buffy was only able to keep a straight face for a few more seconds before she began to laugh loudly. “Your face! That was priceless.”
“Well, certainly glad I could give good face about your disturbing attachment to the stuffed pig.”