Buffy finished grabbing all the weapons she would need for her patrol. Since it was getting much cooler at night, she was able to hide more stakes in her jacket. She also had a short broadsword in a scabbard looped around her back, just in case. But unlike every other patrol she had been on recently, this was different. Theo was going to come with her.
He expressed a desire to watch her in action and even though she argued that patrols were almost 90% boring, he still wanted to come. She just had to remind herself that Theo was a wizard and could take care of himself, so she could focus on the monsters that she needed to kill.
She was picking him up at the infirmary and she looked at the clock on the wall. It was almost time. Buffy could be early for once. So she set off in that direction, mentally deciding on her route through the cemeteries that she would take. She was still deep in thought when she pushed through the infirmary doors.
Theo was running late. He was trying to change clothes because he certainly was not wearing his lab coat on a vampire slaying patrol. Currently he was running around the infirmary in his jeans trying to recall where he’d set his jumper and t-shirt. He could see his trainers with the rolled socks sitting on a chair, so the shirt and sweater had to be around here somewhere.
Buffy blinked when Theo rushed by in only his jeans. “Um, I mentioned earlier that I was hesitant about this because I didn’t want to be distracted. I hate to say it, but if that’s what you’re planning on wearing, I will be way too distracted and probably walk into a tree. Also, it’s cold outside. You might want to put on a shirt or risk poking someone’s eye out with those nipples.”
“I’ve set my shirt and jumper down and I can’t find them,” Theo said.
He hurried into his office and came back out pulling on his t-shirt then pulled his thick jumper over it. Theo sat down and put on his socks and trainers. Then he put on the knit skull cap next to them.
“All right,” he said. “Do I get a stake or am I just to have my wand?”
Buffy ignored the fact that they were both wearing knitted hats like a cutesy couple and contemplated his question. “Have you ever staked a vampire before? It’s not as easy as it looks.”
“Well, no, but Draco’s not the only one who can do a fire charm. Enough fire kills them, correct? I can also decapitate them or put wood through the heart. I read up on a few spells beforehand.”
She grinned. “You studied? That’s cute. Yes, burn them enough and they’ll go poof, but taking the head off is quicker. You’re better off using your own stick of wood than borrowing one of mine. Yours is prettier anyway.” Buffy paused. “You know what I meant.”
Theo raised a brow at her and tried not to grin.
“Yes, I studied. That’s what I do.”
“Oh, come on,” she said, walking out of the infirmary and waiting for him to catch up. “I was never a study person, myself. I mean, I tried in college but when one of my professors tried to kill me, I decided it was too much like high school and kinda stopped trying.”
“One of your professors tried to kill you? Bloody hell, you and Potter really do have a lot in common,” Theo muttered.
Theo jogged a bit to catch up to her.
“I didn’t care much for being in the drama that always seemed to envelop the Slytherin common room, so that left studying.”
Buffy snorted. “Your group? Dramatic. I don’t believe you.” She giggled at the droll look he gave her. “I didn’t make that many friends in college but I had Willow and Xander. Plus, I could just go home and study, not that I ever did. When you were cracking the books open, I was cracking skulls open.”
“I tried not to be noticed. I was always watching events unfold. Too many horrid things happened to too many of my housemates.”
He looked at her.
“Am I allowed to hold your hand? I promise to drop it if you have to slay something.”
Since they were nearing the doors of the Council, Buffy nodded but waited until they were outside the Council first. Theo opened the doors and let her walk through like a gentleman. She grinned and when she held out her hand, he took it and they walked down the steps and toward one of the cemeteries.
“Did you ever have talent shows?” she asked. “I’ve never talked to anyone who went to a boarding school, magical or ordinary.”
“A what?” he asked, chuckling. “Did you say a talent show? What’s that? We did something called a Triwizard Tournament in my fourth year, but I somehow doubt it’s the same thing.”
“Um,” she stuttered, trying to figure out how to explain a talent show
. “Well, you and a bunch of other people volunteer to showcase your talents, like singing, or dances, or magic tricks. Not like your magic but our fake pick a card, any card
type magic. Then judges vote on a winner.”
Theo started laughing. “I can see it now. Malfoy would light his own pants on fire, Blaise would prance about, Abbott would bake things and MacDougal would punch people. Pansy would have to be a judge of course, given her affinity for making comments. I would have loved the Hogwarts Talent Show.”
She began to laugh at the visuals as well. “Ours wasn’t that interesting. Well, maybe it was. I think our entire high school career was skewed so I can’t exactly comment on the normal high school life. What about school dances? Did you have those?”
“Yes,” he replied. “We had a Yule Ball in my fourth year. Though I don’t think you want to know who I went with. Draco went with Pansy, and she had this pink thing on with loads of ruffles. She gets very upset when you mention it now.”
“I liked all the dances. Except for the one where I had to battle hellhounds, but besides that, they were fun.” She took their hands that were linked and poked him in the side with her finger. “Who did you go with? I’ll bug you until you tell me.”
“I’d really rather not. Like I said, you won’t like it.”
He knew she didn’t like Daphne, but no one would go with her and she had wanted to go. One of the upperclassmen had even asked Astoria before asking Daphs.
If he thought she wouldn’t like it, she would leave it alone for now. “All right, fine. Keep your date to yourself.” She didn’t want to spoil this. They came up on the first cemetery and Buffy stopped asking questions, instead keeping her eyes peeled for signs of vampires or other demons.
“Fine,” he said. “Because I know it will come up later as my keeping a secret from you. It was Daphne. I took Daphne. Well, she took me, more like. I wasn’t planning on going, but she said she’d slip something in my food to give me watery bowels if I didn’t.”
Buffy stopped in her tracks, prompting Theo to do the same. “Daphne? The same Daphne who took Willow’s blood, poisoned her, and made her go all darkside? That one?”
“Well, yes, but do keep in mind she was far less evil at fourteen.” Theo sighed. “You see, it was a damn decade ago and you’re upset. I knew you would be. but I didn’t want to keep anything from you, and it’s so bloody trivial.”
“I’m not upset!” she said defensively. “I just wanted to clear that up that it was evil Daphne that you took to the dance or whatever.” Buffy sighed and they began walking again. “Thank you for telling me and I know it was a long time ago so we’ll just forget that, okay? See? Already forgotten.”
“I’ve known Daphne my whole life,” Theo said. “It’s difficult for me to understand what made her do this, and I never thought I’d see the day when Astoria would cut her off.”
Buffy understood that. People changed and sometimes she wasn’t around to see the turning point that made them change. Looking back when she first met Willow, Buffy never would have guessed that she would someday be on the edge of a spiral into dark magic. She squeezed his hand and was about to give him advice, when she saw a figure skulking in the shadows.
“Hold that thought. I’ve gotta go kill something.”
She dropped his hand and pulled out her stake, ready to take on the vampire.
Theo walked over and took a seat on a headstone. She obviously needed no help from him. He didn’t want to talk while she was fighting just in case she needed to concentrate. He had promised to observe and not be a distraction that could get one or both of them injured.
Buffy vaulted over a headstone and kicked the chest of the vampire, sending it flying into the side of a mausoleum. Before it could stand and gathers it wits, Buffy kicked his head, making it roll onto the ground. She went to plunge the stake down, but the vampire got a lucky shot at her leg. Luckily she was wearing her boots and the kick only stung. Before the vampire could get another kick in, she staked it hard.
As the dust settled, Buffy looked over the boot. There was no damage, thankfully. “Lucky bastard.”
“Are you all right?” Theo called.
Then he was distracted. Off in the distance a woman in white what pointing behind him. Theo squinted. She looked familiar. Before he could think too much on it, there was a slight rustling behind him before he was grabbed and pulled backwards off of his perch. Theo shouted and struggled. He slid his wand out of his sleeve, but couldn’t get it around.
“Son of a bitch!” Theo shouted, getting angry.
He finally managed to wrestled himself away from the thing before it sunk its teeth into him and was about to hex it when it exploded into dust and his girlfriend was standing on the other side of the dissipating dust cloud.
“How am I supposed to learn anything if you do stuff like that?” he asked.
The woman was gone. He didn’t see her anywhere. Maybe he was going mental. Theo put it out of his mind for now.
“It was going to bite you!” she shouted. “Biting does not equal learning. Biting equals badness.”
“I wasn’t going to let it bite me. Have a little faith, will you? It would be poor form indeed for the slayer’s boyfriend to get himself bitten on their first patrol together, would it not?”
She huffed, crossing her arms, stake still in hand. “Fine. Next vampire we come across, you take it. I’ll just sit back and not interfere. At all.”
Theo flicked his wand sending a hex over her shoulder. The vampire that had been heading towards her back was instantly lit on fire.
“All right,” he replied.
Buffy spun around and saw the vampire on fire and huffed. “Cheater. That one didn’t count.”
The vampire disintegrated into dust.
“It’s dust, isn’t it? I don’t see why it shouldn’t count. I don’t have a stake, and I’m not getting close if I don’t have to. I don’t have super strength, and hexing from afar definitely gives me the advantage I would not have in hand to hand combat.“
“Yeah, yeah,” she grumbled, trying not to grin. That had been a nifty way to dust a vamp. “You’re my hero. Shall we continue walking through the oh-so-romantic graveyard? That’s probably all we’re going to see tonight. We might get a few more if we’re lucky. I think we cleared out all the nests.”
“You don’t think it’s even a little romantic out here?” Theo asked, then made a face. “Probably not what you want to hear from the necromancer, so strike that from the record.”
She snickered. “Nah, cemeteries are relegated to strictly ‘workplace’ in my brain. It’s my job, so nothing really that romantic about it. I mean, some of the tombstones and crypts can be really pretty, but when you think about what they are and what’s inside, it can get creepy.”
Theo nodded and took up holding her hand again.
“So who took you to school dances?”
Buffy bit her lip. She didn’t have the best track record with dances. “Um, well the first one at Sunnydale was kind of...well, I went by myself. Sort of. See, that’s the first time I died. I drowned and it ruined my dress but after I killed the Master, I just went with Willow and Xander and Cordelia, dress be damned. Then there was the Sadie Hawkins dance but I was too busy fighting off a poltergeist to go to that one. And oh dear god, don’t even get me started on Homecoming.”
“Homecoming? What’s that?” Theo asked in confusion.
Perhaps he should pick up and book on American schools.
Buffy shook her head. “I’m going to make you watch so many teen movies you will want to strangle me. Even Draco knows what Homecoming is.”
“Well, I’m sorry I’m not as Muggle cultured as Draco sodding Malfoy.”
Theo squinted into the darkness and pointed.
Buffy turned in the direction that he pointed. She was about to start going on and on about the Homecoming tradition and the Homecoming court. Oddly enough, she now associated slaying with Homecoming, so this was right on par. There were two of them and she stepped forward, pulling out her stake.
“Okay, so Homecoming is where all the old students get to come back and get honored while the current students show tons of school spirit and decorate the school and floats and things.” One of the vampires rushed toward her and she decided she could multitask. She kicked the vampire in the head to disorient it and ducked a kick from the other one. “There’s also usually a big game, like football or basketball.”
Buffy dodged a punch and a jab to deliver one of her own. “The game is a big deal and there’s almost always a parade leading up to it. They also have a Homecoming Court for current students. The school votes on a guy and girl to be the King and Queen of Homecoming.”
The vampire swung and the fist caught her right on the edge of the jaw, but she was already moving her head with the punch so she barely felt it. Buffy brought the stake up and jabbed it into the vampire’s chest. She immediately turned around and staked the other one.
“Then afterwards, there’s a dance. And that’s the basics of Homecoming.”
Theo just stood there staring for a moment.
“It’s as if you don’t even need me here,” he said. “Floats? And a king and a queen? Interesting.”
Not that Theo knew what a float was. He decided he would look for a book on the subject.
She grinned. “Technically, you don’t need me here, either. I have to get within eating distance. You could just perch up in a tree like a bird and go nuclear on them all.”
“I suppose I could,” he said. “But that sounds awfully dull.”
They walked for a moment in silence.
“You’d think all the vampires in this area would have heard there’s a whole army of vampire slayers living here by now. If I were a vampire, I’d immediately leave town,” he said.
“Yeah, well, even the seasoned slayers have off days. Some slayers were taken out by really powerful vamps and some just made a wrong move on an ordinary patrol. Every vampire wants to deliver that wrong move.” Buffy blew the dust off her stake and put it back up her sleeve. “So they’ll keep coming and we’ll keep fighting.”
“I think everyone has off days, though I try not to have any. Like you, I have an off day and someone could die.”
Theo wondered how long she usually stayed out like this, and did she sleep in the next day. He was thinking he’d just sleep on one of the beds in the infirmary tonight instead of going all the way home then coming back.
“Well that’s one thing we have in common,” Buffy said lightly, walking back over to him. “If we have off days, people die. Although, people die on my good days anyway, but that’s sort of my job.”
She thought of what Andrew told her when she was in Cleveland and Dawn let slip she was seeing a necromancer and rolled her eyes. His whole comparison that he brought life to the dead and she killed them was starting to make more and more sense.
“I think we have more than one thing in common,” Theo said with a smirk. “Or I should hope so because as fun as a relationship based solely upon sex might be, I rather like talking to you.”
“And I like talking to you, too,” she said, and she meant it. At first, Buffy was worried that their completely different worlds would be a hindrance, but she enjoyed finding out about the wizarding world and explaining her crazy high school to him. “Mr. Sex on the brain,” she finished with a laugh.
“I can’t help it. Have you seen you? You’d be thinking about taking your clothes off all the time too.”
Buffy glared at him playfully. “I don’t stand in my room admiring myself in the mirror and imaging myself naked. And I’m all dusty right now. It’s non-sexy.”
“I would have to disagree,” Theo said. “I still find you very attractive. So does only one person patrol a night or do several? How many have you staked already tonight? Because I think you should leave some vampires for the others.”
As it turned out, she was only doing a partial rotation, simply because she knew Theo wouldn’t be used to the odd hours of patrols. She probably only had about ten minutes left before Shannon was up, but she wasn’t about to let him know that.
“Aw, is it past the little wizard’s bedtime?” she teased. “Typical patrols last about three or four hours.”
“No, boyfriend Theo was just hoping to get a bit of cuddling in at some point tonight, but I understand if you’d rather not.”
She smiled. “Shannon should be heading out because I told her I wasn’t doing a full patrol. She was happy that she got some extra time off. Let’s head back. Although, ugh, I will need a shower. I’m all sweaty and dusty.”
“Yes,” he said dryly. “You’re absolutely disgusting. Let’s get you out of those clothes and add water.”
Buffy slapped him on the arm. “I think I inhaled part of that last vampire. It’s icky. It took me almost a year to train myself to not breathe for a few seconds after dusting one. I forget sometimes when I’m talking.”
“Yes, you’re so... icky, I can barely stand to be around you,” Theo said as he slipped an arm around her waist.
She smiled and leaned her head on his shoulder. “Well, you’re used to being around blood and guts all the time so of course a little vampire dust doesn’t bother you. It wouldn’t bother me either if I was a doctor or nurse, which would never happen because I can’t stand hospitals. And school is necessary to actually become
a doctor or nurse and we’ve already gone over how that it’s going to happen.”
Theo laughed. “You don’t worry about school. I think I have the school business covered for the both of us.”
“I swore I would never go back and now I’m living in one. But as far as the actual learning goes, yes, you can keep it all to yourself.”
They arrived at the steps just as Shannon was coming out. “Happy slaying!” Buffy called out before darting inside the open door Theo was holding for her and started walking towards her rooms “Hmm, I’m thinking shower and a snack. You hungry?”
She walked right into things all the time. Theo grinned at her.
“What’s on the menu?”
“Whatever you wan--” She turned around and saw his expression. “Funny. Very funny. I’m talking about food.”
“I wasn’t.” Theo grinned at her. “How about this, I’ll gather you some snacks while you shower and bring them to your room. I promise not to forget the cheesy chips.”
Buffy leaned up and kissed him lightly. “Sounds good. I’ll see you in a few.”