WAKE UP CALL
Disclaimer: BTVS owned by Joss Whedon, et. al.; HP by J.K. Rowling. This work is for fun, not profit. I own none of the characters. Any failure on the humor front is, of course, mine.
A/N: Shortly after Chosen for BTVS. AU for beginning of Season 8 comics but would go in a similar directions. 5 years after Deathly Hallows for HP.
The Minster of Magic and the Chief Auror, Round 1
Auror HQ, 9 am, late May 31st, 2003
“Would you like the good news or the bad news first?”
“Do ALL our conversations have to start like this? Give me the bad news, I suppose.”
“We've had another run-in with You-know-who.”
“Damn. What is it this time?”
“Virtually the same as the last. Raising hell and using aggressive magic against both wizards and Muggles. Obliviating them afterwards. Daring us to do anything about it.”
“God, I can't believe this is happening again.”
“I know Minister. After we stopped him the last time, I thought it was all over.”
“If this gets in the papers, the public is going to go crazy.”
“I know, Minister. They get in a frenzy just hearing his name.”
“It doesn't help that he's become very powerful. Possessing the Death Stick seems to be fueling highly abnormal abilities within him.”
“Yes. It would take a team of our top Aurors to even slow him down right now.”
“The past keeps repeating itself, doesn't it? Where is this all going to end?”
“Very troubling, Minister, I agree. But I also mentioned having good news.”
“Eh? And what would that be?”
“The Slayer is relocating to the UK.”
“What? Are you serious?”
“Yes, apparently that magical disturbance a few weeks back was caused by the Slayer. Somehow, she and her team managed to completely shut down the Sunnydale, California Hellmouth. It's unprecedented. The magnitude of the power required to do that is simply unheard of.”
“My God, I certainly wouldn't have believed it. This is fantastic news!”
“Yes, Minister. Apparently they are rebuilding the Watcher's Council which was destroyed a few months ago. They've acquired a castle in Scotland -- quite near Hogwarts, actually -- and plan to open a Slayer training academy there.”
“Interesting! They've been in touch with us?”
“Yes. The new Chief Watcher, Rupert Giles, has been well-acquainted within Wizarding circles for many years. We haven't had time to go over the details, but apparently in this last battle with the First Evil, they managed to activate all the potential Slayers in the world. So that now instead of one Slayer, there are hundreds. The Slayer Academy will train these girls to join in the fight against evil, then deploy them around the world to patrol all the known Hellmouths and magical hotspots against demonic activity.”
“Great Scott! An army of slayers, based here in the UK. This is unbelievably good news.”
“Even better, sir, I think I have a plan to use them to help us with You-know-who.”
“Go on then.”
“The Slayer has become something of an obsession in Auror circles. Her scores on the worldwide 'fighters of evil' Tote Board are off the charts.”
“Ok. Where are you going with this?”
“With the defeat of the First, her lifetime score has now reached 1 million points - 5 times the next person on the list - and the numbers just keep climbing. She isn't the kind to retire to a life of leisure, like someone we know.”
“Unbelievable. I didn't think the F.O.E . Tote went that high.”
“Yes, we actually had to redo the display to show 7 digits. Never would've thought that would happen in this or any other magical age.”
“So what's the plan then?”
“What I want to do, sir, is have a special lifetime achievement award presented to her at our annual banquet.”
“Of course! And the presenter will be You-know-who himself!”
“Exactly, sir. Imagine what will happen when Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, one-time savior of the wizarding world, current bon vivant and slacker extraordinaire, meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 6-time savior of the entire planet, who is still Slaying with the best of them.”
“Brilliant! If that doesn't give the boy a wake up call, then nothing will!"
Potter Flat, Soho, 5 am, June 15th, 2003
Harry woke up early and realized once again he was bored. B-O-R-E-D out of his mind. The last 5 years had gone by in a whirlwind of victory celebrations, tributes, receptions, parties, fast nightclubs and, increasingly, even faster women. There was seemingly an unending supply of young witches who wanted to get together with Harry. After putting Ginny Weasley on hold, Harry had burned through that supply more rapidly than he thought possible. Then he'd moved on to the Muggle world, where no one knew his name but his money, his youth, and his passion for living both high and wild ensured a slew of willing partners sharing the expensive bed in his posh London flat.
At almost 23, though, Harry was beginning to wonder what was next in his life. After defeating Voldemort, he'd taken one look at the pile of gold, jewels and artwork in the Gringotts vault he'd inherited from Sirius Black and realized that he'd never have to work a day in his life if he didn't feel like it. He'd dropped Auror training before even beginning it. Then he jumped instead straight into the wizarding equivalent of a jet-set lifestyle. When that had paled, he'd moved on to the actual Muggle version. His only contact with Aurors these days was when they showed up to cover some of his more outrageous conduct in the Muggle world.
The naked blonde sleeping next to him knew nothing of that, of course. He really couldn't remember her name or where he'd picked her up. Or had been picked up...he had a vague idea that she was American, and that she was the one who'd latched onto him. What he could recall was some fairly spectacular sex. She'd told him she was going to ride him at a gallop until his legs buckled and his eyes rolled up. Then she proceeded to do it. She had muscles in that small frame he'd never even dreamed of and, when he'd finally popped like warm champagne, he'd begged her to keep on hurting him.
Sigh. Hurting was about the only way he was feeling anything anymore. There was more than a little truth in the statement that being rich doesn't make you happy. He'd never gotten over his time fighting the armies of the chief Death Eater. None of the thrill-seeking he'd done, from guided dark creature-hunts, to extreme skiing, to dragon baiting, had ever quite reached that righteous combination of danger, fear, and self-worth he'd had when facing the Dark Lord. They were only cheap substitutes; nothing could compete with saving the world. And truly, how often did that come up? Once in a lifetime, maybe. He didn't really count what had happened with Voldemort the first time; that had been his mother's sacrifice, not his own.
Thinking about his mother, his father, Sirius, Ginny, et. al., brought forth an exasperated grimace. What was he doing with his life now anyway? Was he nothing more than some sort of magical Hugh Hefner? Maybe he should've become an Auror, but was an Auror without a Dark Lord to chase any more exciting than being a Muggle traffic warden here in London? Somehow, he doubted it.
He looked over at the girl again and realized he was disgusted with himself. Despite how fabulous she looked, and how fabulous she'd been, he wanted her gone. Out of his bed, out of his flat, out of the life that he could no longer pretend was satisfying him. He had gotten increasingly callous with the girls as time rolled by. Ron had cheered him on, of course, but Hermione was constantly on his case to quit chasing and find someone -- like Ginny -- that he could be with for the long-term. He wondered if it was possible for him to feel that way about a girl anymore.
Even if it was, this one surely wasn't the one. He reached over and poked her. She turned towards him, seemingly not fully awake. He poked her again. She tried to cuddle him, but he pulled back away from her.
"Whassa matter?" she said drowsily. Definitely American, he thought.
"I need you to leave now.”
“Yes, I know. But you need to get out."
She'd fallen back asleep. Now Harry was starting to feel a little emotion, a little temper in fact. He wanted her Muggle ass gone. He couldn't sit and brood effectively over his past and his failures with Ginny and a string of other girls with her blonde beauty staring him in the face. He tried poking her one more time but she brushed him away with her arm, startling him with the power behind the shove. He tried again and once more she brushed him back with a flick of her wrist. He slid along the silk sheets and off the side of the bed.
Now he WAS angry. A little slip of a girl manhandling him in her sleep was not pleasing to his ego. He grabbed his wand off the bedside table and pointed it at her. "Stupefy!" he shouted, grinning as the red light burst from the end of the wand and hit her in the back, causing both the girl and the covers to fly onto the floor. He'd enervate her, get her dressed, and then obliviate her, sending her off no wiser to what had happened between them. 'Love them, then get rid' had become his motto. Obliviating made that a lot easier, in his opinion. And if he ever wanted to come back for seconds, he could do it all over again without all the drama.
Harry strolled around the bed, with his wand outstretched, ready to do the enervation spell. The next thing he knew, a small but insanely strong hand was on his throat and his toes were dangling in the air, his wand suddenly in her hand, not his. He watched in horror as she snapped it in half -- the Death Stick, the Wand of Destiny! -- one-handedly. The next words he heard were no more comforting than the awkward position he found himself in.
"Try that again, Mr. Wizard, and I'll be breaking that other pointy thing you were using last night! And I suspect you might be a little more attached to that one, if you get what I mean!"
He gulped nervously as he struggled to break her grip. What the hell had he got himself into now? He also realized something; whatever he was feeling right now, it wasn't boredom.
Buffy felt good, lying in the bed with this guy. Faith would call him her new boy toy, of course, but Buffy hadn't felt this attracted to someone she'd just met in a long time. Someone had pointed him out to her at the reception last night, the great Harry Potter that everyone kept saying she should meet. And though he'd been a little bit tipsy, she could see why they kept pushing her towards him. He had quite a bit of that 1000-yd stare look, the stare she saw often enough in her own mirror. The stare of someone who'd fought the good fight for so long that it'd become part of you. Not temporary but a permanent change, if you will.
His story was, of course, oddly similar to hers. Giles had gone over the highlights on the ride down: prophecy, chosen one, tough childhood, yadda-yadda. Basically died saving the world, only to come back to kill off his nemesis for good. Of course, his big bad really didn't seem to be quite as spooky-hard as what she and the Scoobies had faced down over the years. But dark magical powers, army of minions, reign of terror, etc., all added up to someone she could relate to. There was a connection there. She recognized it, and maybe he did too. Of course, he was officially retired from the fray now -- something a Slayer couldn't do, even if she wanted to -- but there was still a bond, a connection, a spark that didn't exist with most normal guys who hadn't carried the weight of the world on their shoulders for years at a time.
That's why she'd come with him when he invited her back to his place. She could have guys standing in line to have sex with her if she was interested in that lifestyle -- and some of the Slayerettes looked at her funny too, she had to admit -- but that was Faith's gig, not hers. Buffy's past love life was so full of mistakes, tragic consequences, and other failings that she'd just about resigned herself to being alone; an occasional fling every once in awhile didn't really count.
Last night had been fun. She had channeled Faith a bit, maybe relived a little bit of her rough times with Spike. The Potty boy toy was in good enough shape to almost keep up with her, though he didn't really have the supernatural stamina of some of her past lovers. He seemed like he needed it, though, and it was a major release for her as well. Slayer powers had to have an outlet alright, and she had barely killed anything since coming to England. Well, they'd gone demon hunting almost every night but, without a Hellmouth here, and with so much good magic flowing, they pretty much had to take turns letting the new girls get blooded on the few vamps and demons they'd found so far. Acting as a coach instead of a player was taking its toll on Buffy. The planned move to England was the right idea, but a side trip to the Cleveland Hellmouth was definitely in order. Soon she hoped.
It was still dark out as she lay drowsily in the bed. As she got older and her Slayer powers continued to increase, she needed less and less sleep even after a workout like the one she'd just indulged in. It was 5 am maybe; it would feel good to really catch some Z's here, but she'd already catnapped on the drive down to London yesterday and that would last her a few days. But it was fun just to laze here in the big warm bed, with the silk sheets caressing her back.
She felt him poke her then, several times. Maybe he was ready for another go? She turned to cuddle him, but he pulled away. She rolled over, ignoring him except to say she was sleepy. Then she heard him say she had to "get out."
Ok, she wasn't believing that she just heard that. What kind of an ass clown was this guy? He jabbed her again, insistently, and she gave him a bit of a shove. Now just what the hell was going on here? Was he serious? Don't tell me he really wants me to leave? So he can do what, brag about bagging the Slayer then kicking her out in the middle of the night? He must know who she was, right? What the hell was he at that reception for if not? He poked her yet again, harder, and she flexed her wrist and sent him flying off the bed. Serves him right, she said to herself grumpily. He owes me coffee and breakfast at least, the bastard. And I'm damn sure not strolling out of here at 5 am in that little black dress from last night. Girl's gotta have some kind of standards, after all.
The spell hit her in the back and blasted her off her bed. Ok, she knew he was a wand wizard, that's the point of the meetings they were having, but using spells against her after having hot sex for about 4 hours straight last night? Not of the good! Now she was angry. Now he was gonna find out just what the title "Slayer" really meant. She sensed his approach as he came around the side of the bed, his wand thingy aimed at her; then she was on him like a flash.
Harry was gasping for air. The girl -- naked as a jaybird and beautiful as sin -- was inspecting him like he was a bug she was about to squash. Her grip was impossible and she was holding him up straight-armed off the ground with absolutely no effort that he could detect. She couldn't be human. How the hell did he get mixed up with her, of all people?
Despite his position, and the slow asphyxiation he was facing, he couldn't help but be turned on more than a bit. God, he was about to die! This was the kind of thing he'd been looking for the last 5 years, a real challenge. Now here it was and he was going to go out like a baby wildebeest with a lion's mouth around its neck. His face was beet red changing to purple, and the light was flickering in his eyes, spots going in and out of his vision, when she glanced down and noticed his almost fully erect state.
She snorted contemptuously, then flung him against the wall 15 feet away. He slid down and fell on his member. Arrgh! The pain of that mixed with the whooping and gasping he was doing as he resumed breathing kept him occupied the next few minutes. When he looked up, she was fully clothed in the tight black sheath dress, hose, and heels she'd worn the evening before, purse in hand. She was standing in front of the dresser, fixing her makeup. It appeared she'd already brushed her hair.
Maybe she wasn't going to kill him, after all. But he had to know who -- and what -- she was. Damn all the drinking he'd been doing lately. Had the stunner spell just missed her? How was she so freakily strong? Breaking the Death Stick should've been impossible. It was full of immense magic and had anti-breaking charms reapplied over and over it. How was he ever going to explain its loss to the Auror community, much less Ron and Hermione? They had long since warned him that he should've left it with Dumbledore as he'd planned. Now it was destroyed utterly and that power, which he admittedly had been abusing lately, was lost to the wizarding world for good.
His old wand was in the side table; in the moleskin bag he always used to carry with him. He pulled out the drawer carefully, found the bag, and opened it. He had just extracted his holly and phoenix feather wand -- the one he'd carried throughout his fight with Voldemort -- when he realized she was watching him in the mirror.
She whirled around faster than he could imagine. He cast the first thing he could think of, scarcely realizing what he was doing:
"Imperio," he shouted.
He felt the spell move down his arm to her, like a physical connection, and then unnervingly, move right back from her through his wand and up into his brain. 'What the hell are you trying to do? Spelly stuff doesn't work on me very well.' he could hear her thinking at him. He broke the spell quickly. Now what? Try again. Another curse? He couldn't believe he was doing this.
"Crucio," he snarled, realizing that he was angry and scared enough for it to work.
Her reaction nearly broke his spirit. She gave a sinuous, almost erotic twist of her torso, a ripple of pure delight, and a big smile broke out her face.
"Hey! That's coolio! It's like a full-body sonic massage! Wow, you shoulda showed me that move last night. It would've loosened me up even more!"
Harry shuddered imagining how much looser she could be. What she had done to him in bed seemed physically impossible in the first place. He was desperate now. She had shaken off two unforgivable curses. Dare he try the third? She had to be some sort of demon, correct? He could see her laughing at his nervousness as she enjoyed the Crucio, spinning under it like a heat lamp. His eyes went dark suddenly with rage, and he did the unthinkable:
"Avada Kedavra," he roared.
The green light blotted her out for almost 3 full seconds. Had it worked? The light faded. And then she was standing right in front of him, suddenly holding something shiny and axe-shaped lightly in her right hand. The hawk like stare she was giving him was quite unnerving. How did she move so fast? Where did the axe come from? How did she survive a killing curse? He gulped as she spoke, casting his mind around for anything else in his arsenal that might affect this invincible she-demon.
"Yummy. Green, fresh, and minty! And more than a little bit dark, too! Like really rich chocolate. Tasty spelling, HP! But it doesn't work on me. So how about you hand that wandy thing over now, or me and my trusty Scythe are going to carve you into little icky pieces." she informed him, perkily.
Before he could speak or even blink, she snatched the wand out of his hand. He instantly forgot the spell he'd been about to say to yell out a plea:
"Don't break it! I'm begging you! I've had that wand my whole life! Please, I'll give you anything you want, just don't break it."
Buffy looked Harry over. The slimeball was about to cry, it seemed. How did he go from the dashing young wizardy guy last night to this broken reed begging for a wand? Pathetic. Her luck with men seemingly was never going to change. If Faith ever got wind of this, she'd never hear the end of it.
"Ok, no breaky the sticky, but finders-keepers! I'll just hold on to this bit o' pointy wood and add it to my collection. If you're nice to me, someday I may even give it back."
She shoved the wand into her purse and turned to the bedroom door to leave. Just as she got to it, Harry caught up to her and grabbed her arm roughly.
"Who are you? WHAT are you? Who put you up to this?" he asked furiously.
He didn't even sense the back kick coming but the power of it carried him all the way across the room back onto the bed. He could tell that most of his ribs were cracked and he'd banged his head again on the headboard of the bed. She looked at him with ice in her gaze; ice that caused his insides to curl up in anticipation of a fatal blow.
Buffy shook her head, putting as much menace as she could into her stare.
"Who am I? What am I? You really don't know do ya? Short memory? Forgot about the reception last night? And maybe the aftermath too? Well, Harry Potter, who am I is really not the question now is it? The question is, who are YOU? Or rather, just who the hell do you THINK you are?"
She turned and left, battering the front door off its hinges with her Scythe when the door wards refused to open it under her touch. Harry gazed at the doorway in utter shock as the sound of the broken wards pealed magically through the flat. He tried to get out of bed to shut the wards down, but suddenly felt woozy. He collapsed on the floor beside the bed. He was still there, barely conscious, a few minutes later when the Aurors showed up.
The Minister and the Chief Auror, Round 2
Auror HQ, 9 am, June 15th, 2003
"Minister, I hate to floo you so early.”
“What is it? I have a meeting in 5 minutes.”
“You-know-who has struck again. Or, rather, been struck in this case.”
“What? Is he alright?”
“Yes. A concussion, some bruising on the neck, and 6 cracked ribs. Nothing the mediwitches couldn't put right in a jiffy.”
“So why the call then?”
“Well, you remember our plan for him, sir?”
“Yes, of course, the banquet is tonight.”
“Apparently it's working out even better than we thought. He met Miss Summers last night, towards the end of the reception for the Watcher's Council.”
“Get on with it. 2 more minutes.”
“She...ah...how do the Americans say it..apparently 'hooked up' with him last night.”
“Really? Rather fast work, I should think?”
“It's his current profile, but in this case she appeared to be the aggressor.”
“Explain, please, I'll give you 5 more minutes.”
“Well, she was fully briefed on Harry, of course. Not unnaturally, they have a lot in common. But apparently he had no idea who she really is, he got to the reception late, probably never read the general backgrounders we sent him, but nevertheless they hit it off and went off to his apartment for fun and games around midnight or so.”
“And she's that rough? Good lord, I hope the pain was worth it!”
“Not exactly what happened, sir. Harry, like he apparently has been doing lately, tried to throw her out of his apartment around 5 am.”
“He tried to throw the Slayer out pre-dawn? Did he have the slightest idea what he was doing?”
“That's not all, sir. He tried to stun her and it didn't work. With the Death Stick. She snatched it off of him and broke it. He then tried out a series of unforgivable curses on her, which also didn't work. So she confiscated his other wand, beat down his door with a mystical weapon that she apparently called in from somewhere, and left him unconscious on the floor.”
“Haha! My word, he's had that coming for awhile. I would dearly have loved to have seen that. Harry Potter, the boy who lived, trying to take on the ultimate, world-class Slayer without even knowing who she is! Irony is sweet in this case.”
“Indeed, sir. I've had a smile on my face ever since the duty Aurors got back from Harry's flat.”
“So, did they let the cat out of the bag?”
“No, sir. The whole unit has been under strict orders not to answer any questions about the Slayer or volunteer any information about her possible activities. That's something we've been negotiating with the Watcher's Council.”
“See that no one does tell him. Just make sure I am looking in his direction when he catches sight of her tonight. Too rich for words!”
“Yes, the loss of the Death Stick is well worth it. It should also lessen his power, which should cramp his style, at least for the time being.”
“She really destroyed it? I thought that was nigh impossible.”
“As did we all, sir. The Slayer's physical power seems to be almost unlimited, particularly when she's angry. Her ability to shrug off the unforgivable curses is mind boggling.”
“Remind me not to offend her then, will you?”
“Right you are, sir.”
“So Harry Potter has met his first nemesis in a little over 5 years. And is now wandless, shamed, and confused. But using unforgivables! Are we taking this little joke too far? I mean, he should be in prison right now.”
“I don't think so sir. He used the excuse that she must be some type of demon to do what she did. Which is almost reasonable, under the circumstances.”
“I suppose so.”
“The boy needs to turn into a man, and do some good in our world. Evil didn't stop with Voldemort's death. He needs a challenge.”
“Agreed. Well if the Slayer can't make a man out of him, then there's nothing left there to bother with.”
“Yes, sir. That's all I have.”
“Very well. Let's hope it goes as planned this evening. Signing off here.”
Leakey Cauldron, outside Diagon Alley, London, 12 pm, June 15th, 2003
Waiting for Ron and Hermione, Harry was increasingly agitated. He hadn't seen them for several months -- he was somewhat unnerved by their disapproval of his current lifestyle. Hermione was making a name for herself in research and development of spells as well as serving as a highly-paid expert in magical law. Ron was a fully-fledged Auror now, after some 5 years of training assignments and rotations through various associated Ministry functions. He was now assigned as a field Auror in the London office, though thankfully he had not been on duty this morning. Of course, he was bound to have heard about it, but at least he hadn't been there and seen him lying naked and helpless in the flat.
He spotted Ron as he walked in from the back entrance.
"Ron, over here!”
“Harry, how's the man?”
“She begged off.”
“Ah, well, Harry. Why do you think?”
“I suppose she heard the news from last night?”
“Talk of the Auror's office this am, mate.”
“Sigh. I guess that's to be expected.”
“Yes, not very flattering I'm afraid.”
“Do they have any leads?”
“On who the Muggle was. Or rather, who the freaky strong magical demon super-bitch was?”
“Well, Harry, about that. Hmmm, how should I put this?”
“Out with it Ron! I know all of your secrets, and you know all of mine, damn it.”
“To be blunt, Harry, it's classified.”
“Ron, you can't do that! We beat Voldemort together! We were in Gryffindor together. I almost married your sister!”
“Hmm, yes. About that. Have you heard from Ginny lately?”
“No, not at all. Why?”
“She's been trying to get in touch with you. She's been going through some ...changes, and she wanted to talk to you about them.”
“What's that got to do with me getting my ass handed to me by that American Amazon?”
“Umm, nothing I suppose.”
“Tell me about her.”
“Can't Harry. All I can say is that the Ministry is aware of her presence in the UK and approves of it. They also know how you tried to curse her last night, and what curses you used, so I wouldn't push further if I were you.”
“They know I tried more than just stunning her? I didn't tell the Aurors that!”
“Yes, well, I guess now you know we've been watching your flat closely as of late.”
“I can't believe it! Ron, of all people, how could you do this to me?”
“I didn't do it, Harry. But I didn't argue against it. Performing magic in front of Muggles, obliviating them, using your money and your wand to nail all these Muggle girls, throwing them out of your flat when you're done with them. Harry, you could go to prison. In point of fact, you'd BE in prison if you weren't Harry Potter.”
“I've made mistakes, Ron. I know I've made mistakes. But aren't we still friends?”
“Always, Harry, always.”
“Then tell me about this American woman! I mean, is she really a woman?”
“Why don't you tell me about her, Harry? Apparently you got...ah...very close to her last night.”
“She screwed my brains out, Ron, then she almost beat them out! What more can I say? Give me something here!”
“All I can say is come to the banquet tonight and you'll get your questions answered.”
“The Auror's celebration? 5 year celebration in honor of the defeat of Voldemort? Hello, you are still Harry Potter, are you not?”
“Right, I got an invite. I was going to skip again.”
“Do not, I repeat, do not fail to be there. If you don't show up, the Aurors are going to grab you and throw you in prison for those...ah...'interesting' curses you used this morning.”
“Are you serious?”
"Yes, I am. Come to the banquet. The Minister and Chief Auror are explicitly demanding that you come. All your questions will get answered there. Are you listening to me, Harry?”
“Christ! Another banquet. Are you sure...”
“Yes, Harry. Be there. 8 PM sharpish. Formal wear.”
“Ok, Ron. Will Hermione be coming?”
“Yes. And Ginny as well.”
“Ginny? Really? She's not in the Ministry or with the Aurors. Why?”
“You'll find out, mate. You'll find out."
'And you're not going to like it one bit,' thought Ron. 'But it's about time you were served up some of the same nasty dish you've been handing out to the rest of us the last 5 years. You've been bang out of order, mate, and it's time you learned that.'
The Burrow, Ottery St. Catchpole, 3:30 pm, June 15th, 2003
Hermione had been researching the history of the Slayer line. It was really incredible; the Defense Against the Dark Arts courses they'd taken at Hogwarts had treated the Slayer as a legend, not a real person. Turns out the Aurors and other top-level classified access types had always known the truth. The secret treaty with the Watcher's Council discouraged broader knowledge of the Slayer's actual existence. The Watchers did not want ambitious Dark Lords attempting to kidnap or otherwise access Slayer powers, and the Ministry wisely enough concurred. Still, they'd always tracked the Slayer's successes on the FOE Tote Board, like they did with all other demon hunters, dark wizard fighters, and international Aurors.
Which had resulted in very little publicity. Most Slayers came and went quickly, racking up impressive numbers of kills of various low-level vampires and demons in a short time, but then dying and being succeeded by the next chosen one. Their names appeared and disappeared on the Tote practically before they had enough of a track record for people to bet on them. Which, of course, is what the Tote board was really for, though Auror central tried to deny it.
That made what this particular Slayer had accomplished, a girl with the incongruous name of Buffy, even more incredible. She not only had survived eight years of duty as the Slayer, but she had staved off -- with some help from her friends -- no less than 6 apocalypses. Not the magical world being dominated by an evil wizard like Voldemort, but the world ENDING. In toto.
She was editing the write-up for the Minister when Ron suddenly apparated into the kitchen. He came over to the table and gave Hermione a quick kiss. Preoccupied, he flicked his wand to hang up his outer robe, then sat down at the table across from Hermione. She could almost guess what he was about to say.
"You'll never guess what else Harry did last night."
"Don't tell me. He used Unforgivable curses against the Slayer."
Ron's mouth opened in surprise.
"How could you possibly know that already? I just heard the full debrief before I left for lunch with Harry, and it's only been an hour since I left.”
“I spoke to Ginny.”
“Ah. She knows already, does she.”
“Yes. Apparently it is something of a joke to her new friends.”
“How is it a joke?”
“Well, to them, a single wizard blasting them with magic is like giving them a jolt of caffeine. It powers them up, but scarcely touches them otherwise.”
“You mean the Slayers absorb the magic?”
“It's hard to say. Whether they are actually absorbing it or not, it does seem to jazz them up and get them going.”
“And Ginny said all this? Who did she talk to on that side?”
“She seems to be making fast friends with that red-headed witch who works with the Slayer. The one who does Earth magic and Wicca. Willow Rosenberg."
Ron goggled a bit at this. Did Hermione and Ginny realize what that girl was capable of?
"Hermione, do you think that's a good idea?”
“It's not my responsibility, Ron. Ginny is a big girl who can make friends with whomever she wants.”
“Yes, but Willow Rosenberg...”
“Ron, I know. I told her. But she'd apparently heard it already. Willow R. Variously known as Dark Willow, Darth Rosenberg, the Supreme Sorceress, and/or the White Witch.”
“I don't care what she's called, Hermione. She decided to destroy the world and almost succeeded. Can you imagine the raw power that takes?”
“Apparently, she is even stronger now, though not as dark.”
“It makes me nervous, nevertheless.”
“I said that to Ginny. All she said was that it's all good as long as Willow's hair and eyes didn't suddenly turn black.”
“What happens if they do?”
“Apparently, practically anything."
"I have a bad feeling about this.”
“So do I, Ron. So do I. But all this about the Slayer and what she's done, what she's accomplished, and no older than any of us at that. It puts things in perspective doesn't it?”
“A needed perspective, for some, I think. The White Witch worries me though.”
“It's not the white fashion scheme you need to worry about. Ginny said, just to add to the fun, that if she's does go dark AND is levitating 4 feet above the ground, then it's time to run.”
“Great tip, that. I'll keep it in mind.”
“She also said that if you ever see Willow like that, it's too late to run.”
“Pleasant thought. Just a cheery little image of terror to take to the banquet tonight.”
“Ron, does Harry know what's going on? Does he know about Buffy?”
“The stupid git does not have a clue. All he wants is his old wand back and guidance on a minimum safe distance from her. Neither of which he's likely to get anytime soon.”
“So he doesn't know about Ginny either?”
“He has no idea. Hasn't spoken to her in months.”
“Is this going to work, Ron?"
Sigh. "I don't know, Hermione. I really don't. But if this doesn't, then nothing will. It's like he died once the threat was over; he's just given up trying to be anything but the Boy-who-lived-and-then-beat-Voldemort.”
“Funny you should say it that way, Ron.”
“This Slayer actually HAS died, at least twice, possibly as many as 4 times; and she keeps on fighting the good fight.”
“Impressive. Either way, Harry will certainly meet his match tonight. Whether that will mean anything afterwards remains to be seen."
Auror HQ, London, 8 PM
Harry entered the banquet hall at Auror HQ at 8:00 PM. Sharpish, as Ron had said, and he was uncomfortable enough with Ron's tone that he'd tacked on a 15-minute safety margin just in case. He'd lost that margin nonetheless in traffic. He'd had to take a Muggle cab to get here, being without his wand. Not the first time he'd ever taken public transport, of course, as he spent a lot of time amongst Muggles in London. But the only time he'd HAD to do it since coming of age.
He hadn't been to the Auror's Victory celebration since its 2nd year, even though it was a hot ticket in the Ministry community. At first, he'd been determined to ignore Ron's orders and not show. But the more he thought about it, he'd begun to realize that he might actually, finally, be in trouble for last night's little contretemps.
Letting yet another unknown, unvouched for girl into his bed. Using magic in front of her, a Muggle, at the reception. Small stuff, but she had certainly noticed. He remembered her laughing at the rose he'd produced out of thin air. More amused than shocked, which he'd thought strange at the time. He'd done a few more simple tricks of that sort before he realized she wasn't very impressed with it, but that she was interested in him nonetheless.
Then came his Stunning her or, well, trying to, at least, to get her out of his flat. When that didn't work, using Unforgivable curses. He'd really stepped over the line. Apparently, the only thing in his favor was that they weren't successful against her, whatever she was. Demon? Magical creature of some sort? His mind was still spinning over the encounter. How was he going to get his wand back from her? Why the hell didn't the curses work? Were the Auror's really willing to charge him for his lapses? What was the number of that bus that had just run over his life?
He sidled nervously through the entrance into the hall, hoping to find his placecard and sit down before the event had really come together. His famous luck was not with him, however. The Minister, who was notoriously late for every event and meeting he attended, was standing right inside the doorway talking to a few foreign wizards Harry recognized, as well as the Chief Auror and Ron. He couldn't avoid them even if he wanted to, as the Minister saw him instantly, speaking up in that famous deep voice:
"Ah, Harry! Glad you're here nice and early."
He reached for Harry's hand and shook it as the others in the group nodded and voiced their greetings.
"Minister, good evening. Congratulations on your reappointment to a new term. Gentlemen, nice to see you again.”
“Yes, yes, thank you, Harry," said the Minister, "we're all very happy to have you at this particular banquet.”
“Well, sir, sorry to have missed the last few of them. I rather try to put this anniversary out of my mind, you know, instead of celebrating it.”
“Understood, my boy, understood. Dark times, those.”
“They were, Minister. I wouldn't be here tonight except for a certain Auror friend of mine. Ron, here I am, as commanded!”
“It wasn't really Weasley's idea, Harry, though your little fiasco last night certainly put an exclamation point on why we used strong-arm tactics to get you here.”
“This has nothing to do with last night, then?”
“Harry, it has everything to do with last night, yet nothing at all, if you follow me.”
“Sorry, sir, but no, I really don't follow at all.”
“In short, Harry, We have a presentation at the end of dinner we'd like you to be involved in."
Harry flushed with anger. He'd refused to attend most government-sponsored events after the 1st year of the Voldemort-free world. They kept sneaking tributes and trophies and placards for his services into an unbearable series of affairs. Shamelessly flacking his success to paper over the fact that the Ministry had failed utterly to head Voldemort off and had instead left it to Dumbledore, Harry, and his friends to defeat the evil wizard.
"I think I've gotten enough prizes from the Ministry and the Auror community," he said through gritted teeth. "And you know how I feel about being part of Ministry public relations.”
“Harry, I know. But believe me when I say this is extremely important, and it demands your presence.”
“Minister," he said angrily, "how is one more trophy or plaque for me going to be vitally important 5 years after Voldemort's death?”
“Harry, Harry, Harry," said the Minister, amusement in his voice and eyes. "We aren't presenting anything to YOU this time.”
“Eh, er, what's this all about then?" stammered Harry.
"We want YOU to present a lifetime achievement award to someone else, Harry, someone who has been a TRUE inspiration to the Auror community even before Voldemort was defeated.”
“Minister, I'm not seeing how this necessarily involves me.”
“You're our biggest hero, Harry, the savior of our little wizarding world.”
“So it's only right that you present the award to someone whose lifetime accomplishments are not just comparable but realistically far outstrip yours."
Far outstrip? What the hell was the Minister on about? Who and what possible accomplishments outstripped beating Voldemort, for God's sake? Dumbledore had planned Harry's victory, of course, but he was long dead now. So who was this paragon the Minister was droning about?
"Minister, I'm not sure I'm getting your drift.”
“Shall I keep snowing then, Harry? We'd like you, as the most recognized hero of the English wizarding community, to give our thanks to someone who has recently arrived in England. Someone whose proficiency at saving the whole world, not just the wizarding community, has become more pronounced year after year.”
“Saving the world?" Harry scoffed. "Year after year? Why haven't I heard about him?”
“Why, she's not a 'him' anyway, Harry. She's a 'her,' if you will." The Minister's eyes lit up suddenly. "And here she is! Splendid!"
He turned towards the door, tugging Harry's arm so he faced around to see the newcomer. Harry's mouth dropped open. 'No,' he thought, 'it can't be.' The Minister's rich voice rang out suddenly, stopping all conversation in the room as photogs from The Daily Prophet and the Quibbler scrambled for good angles.
"Buffy! Welcome, welcome! Let me introduce you to someone! Harry Potter, I'd like to be the first to introduce you to Ms. Buffy Summers, from America. Better known to the world of wizards, demons and the supernatural as Buffy the Vampire Slayer!"
An unnatural smile plastered on his face, Harry bowed deeply over the slender hand held out to him. What in a past life had led him to this hellish moment? He quaked as she looked at him, no pity in those merciless green eyes.
"Charmed, I'm sure, Mr. Potter," said the demon girl from last night, "I'm so happy to FORMALLY meet you."
Harry groaned inwardly. It looked like a very long night of swallowing crow was in front of him.
In the Banquet Hall, 9:45 PM, June 15th, 2003
The Minister was speaking. Harry stood by the awards table, which held a wide variety of medals and awards as well as an enormous inscribed trophy of some sort. Harry had said little and listened even less during dinner. The food had been ash in his mouth; the champagne tasteless; dessert he had waved away. His replies to Ron and Hermione's attempts at conversation had been monosyllabic. His focus was on the top table, and he had stared at its occupants relentlessly the entire time it took for dinner to be served and consumed. He was still staring at it while he stood on stage.
Several things were running through his mind simultaneously. First of all, it was weird to be staring at the top table, not sitting at it. He hadn't sat anywhere else, at any time in the last 5 years, other than the top table. Tonight, he had been seated at the second table, and despite his desire to pull back from the public view, it was rather galling to realize he WASN'T the center of attention this evening, the annual celebration of Voldemort's defeat. He was also staring at HER, the demon girl, or as the Minister had said, The Slayer. Whatever the hell that was. Clearly not a Muggle title per se, or else she wouldn't be here, but not something he knew from the Wizarding world. She sat with an entourage of equally strange-looking individuals, Muggles obviously, as they were wearing Muggle formal wear, not wizarding robes. All sat at the head table. In HIS place.
And, oddly enough, that was almost the least of his concern. For sitting with them, happily integrated with the strange American crew, even dressed like them, was Ginny. Ginny Weasley. His Ginny. Laughing and joking with them. Refusing to meet his eyes. Refusing to even acknowledge he was there. His day seemed unable to improve. What the hell was she doing here, anyway? And why with them, in particular?
He'd been handing out the various minor awards to Aurors and foreign wizards as directed, in a somewhat mechanical fashion, all the while still staring at Ginny. He was finally brought to attention by the Minister's enthusiastic tone here towards the end of the presentations. Must be handing out the top prize now, he thought confusedly, but there were still a lot of major medals left on the table.
The demon girl -- Buffy -- was now coming forward to stand in between Harry and the Minister. He was distracted enough by Ginny to give the Minister only half an ear, but when Ginny raised her eyes towards the Buffy-demon, he rapidly shifted his focus to the Minister and the rather petite blonde poised gracefully between the two of them. She rolled her eyes insolently at him, mouthing something like "get a room, fun boy" under her breath.
The Minister went on for some time giving Buffy's background and that of her so-called 'Scooby' team. Harry snorted at that. Silly Muggle show. Absurd reference really. He was still concentrating on the puzzle of Ginny when, suddenly, he realized the Minister had said something about getting to the final awards of the ceremony. Odd that only Buffy was standing here with so many items still left to hand out. He tuned into the Minister, wondering exactly what had him so worked up here at the very end of the presentation:
"For the defeat of the 800-year old vampire Lothos and his army of minions, who attempted to take over Los Angeles in May 1996, at age fifteen, Miss Summers was awarded the Order of Merlin, First Class, in camera, which we are presenting to her tonight. Harry, if you would do the honors."
Hmmm. Not bad. He had done quite a lot that age, but never against an army of dark creatures. He put the medal around Buffy's neck while she smiled winningly around the room. He noticed not only that she wasn't leaving, but no one else was being called up onto the stage. Odd that. Who were all these for, then?
"For the defeat of the millennial-aged vampire known only as 'The Master,' preventing him and his army of minions from opening the Sunnydale Hellmouth and allowing demons from a Hell dimension to pour into this world in May 1997, at age 16, Miss Summers was awarded the rare Golden Order of Merlin, in camera, which again we are presenting to her for the first time tonight. Harry? Please?"
Harry, caught staring, quickly picked up the next award and stepped to Buffy, placing it once more around her neck. A Golden Order of Merlin? That's what he had received for stopping Voldemort! This little chit had won one a year before he defeated the Dark Lord? How was there no publicity about this? Who was this girl, who was standing there arching an eyebrow at him as he looked on in confusion. He stepped back with a blush and glanced at the table, which was still rather full. How many more of these...? The Minister went on speaking.
"With highest honor, for defeating the Scourge of Europe, foiling the plot to release the dreaded invincible demon known as The Judge, and ultimately stopping the demon Acathla from sucking the entire world into Hell in May 1998, at age 17, Miss Summers was awarded the even rarer Platinum Order of Merlin, in camera. Harry, the next award please?"
Gaping openly at the Minister, Harry grabbed the next medal quickly and put it around Buffy's neck. His mind was in turmoil. A platinum OOM? At the same time he was getting a Gold for defeating Voldemort? What the fecking hell...?
"For defeating the ascended human-turned-pure demon, Mayor Wilkins of Sunnydale, in May 1999, at age 18, Miss Summers was awarded another Golden Order of Merlin. In that same year in March, Miss Summers was also awarded another Order of Merlin, First Class, for defeating the Sisterhood of Jhe and preventing yet another attempt to open the Hellmouth. This is the first time in the history of the Ministry that one individual has ever been awarded two Orders of Merlin in one year, as well as becoming the first person to ever win two Golden Orders of Merlin. Harry, if you would do the honors with those two medals?"
Feeling like he was in a waking nightmare, Harry took the next two medals and placed them around the small blonde girl's neck. Was she actually getting the rest of what was on the table too? Harry looked around, a bit wildly. This was becoming quite embarrassing. A year after defeating Voldemort he'd been in Monaco hitting the casinos, while the delicate fashion plate in front of him was beating off two more attempts to end the world?
"For defeating Adam, a latter-day Frankenstein's monster created by a secret military/industrial project in the States, who planned to build an army of hybrid demon/cyborgs in the year 2000, at age 19, Miss Summers was awarded yet another Order of Merlin, First Class, in camera. This is notable for being her third award of the Order of Merlin, First Class, which had never been accomplished before in wizarding history. Harry, quickly please."
Harry took the medal and put it clumsily around Buffy's neck. She was tapping her foot a bit as she waited on him to find a spot for it. "Watch the hair, wand boy," she hissed. Oh, God, he thought. There are still more medals on that table!
"For defeating the Hell Goddess Glorificus, then sacrificing herself by jumping into a portal that would not only have destroyed the earth, but possibly all non-hell related dimensions, in May 2001, at age 20, Miss Summers was awarded the never-before received Diamond Order of Merlin, posthumously, and in camera. Harry, the one in the middle there, if you would."
Now he was completely flabbergasted. Diamond Order of Merlin? He'd never even heard of it before. Or imagined the need, for that matter. He nevertheless grabbed the diamond-encrusted medal the Minister had gestured at. This girl had a thing for saving the world, like he did. Unlike him, however, she seemed to have done it repeatedly. He put the medal around her neck and stood back quickly, just barely hearing her saying "Shiny!" as she started examining it in detail. Odd that, he thought. Posthumous? She certainly didn't look dead now, nor had she seemed that way last night. Far from it. The Minister was continuing:
"Like any good world savior, a minor thing like death did not slow Miss Summers down. She was resurrected and continued the good fight for two more years, engaging a number of dangerous enemies on the Hellmouth, including her own friend Miss Rosenberg. Finally, early this year, Miss Summers and her Scooby gang began facing off with nothing other than the First Evil, the nameless evil that was here on earth since the first human walked the planet. Our last award, current, and to our pleasure for the first time issued in public, is for defeating the First Evil, last month at age 22, in which Miss Summers and her team of potential Slayers actually opened and fought their way into the Hellmouth, converted all potential Slayers into actual Slayers, and ultimately shut down the Hellmouth completely, causing the collapse of the entire town of Sunnydale, California. For this action, Miss Summers has been awarded the Grand Diamond Order of Merlin, as well as a Lifetime Achievement award for accomplishing no less than 6 world-saving events and surviving two separate deaths in her now 8th year as the Slayer. Harry, that large medal and the cup, if you would."
Harry moved forward like an automaton. He placed the extremely heavy Grand Diamond around Buffy's neck, then handed her the vast silver cup and the bouquet next to it. He really did not know what to say as the girl stood there smiling. Then it hit him. What could he say? There was nothing to do except clap for her; no one was clapping yet, waiting to see if the Minister had anything else to pull out of his hat.
The Minster then spoke up, much louder than he was used to doing at these events.
"Wizards and witches, ladies and gentlemen, a huge round of applause please for Miss...”
“I prefer Buffy.”
“...Buffy Summers, 6-time savior of the world, the Girl who Died Twice...”
“There were maybe a couple of others in there to, but I got better.”
“known throughout the supernatural and now the wizarding world...
"well, I'm kinda known in a few other alternate dimensions as well, or at least my rep has preceded me there...
"I give you Buffy The Vampire Slayer!"
The applause was enormous. Speaking as a professional at getting applauded, Harry doubted he ever heard louder from a smaller group. The cheering, whistling, and clapping was immense, and a number of Aurors -- including Ron he noted -- had cast a sonorous spell to ensure their cheers were heard through the din.
Miss Summers or, rather, Buffy stood and took it all in with a casual wave. As the cheering crescendoed, she waved her team members forward to stand beside her. This, if anything, increased the already ear-shattering noised. Buffy slowly raised her hand, then lowered it quickly and emphatically. Like magic, the noise stopped. Harry, who had returned virtually unnoticed to his table, whispered quietly to Ron in the silence:
"So, you could've warned me about her, couldn't you?”
“Sorry, mate. Strictest orders and all that.”
“I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Here I've been sitting on my arse moaning about fate for the last 5 years and she's been out kicking ass on Hell Gods, the First Evil and other baddies I don't even understand.”
“And those are just the high points, to be honest, Harry.”
“Shh. She's going to talk now."
Buffy let the wave of applause roll over her and the Scoobies on stage. It was kind of remarkable to hear this cheering. Their world-saving had been so long a private act -- just the class protector award given at the Senior Prom that one time -- that to get sincere recognition for what they'd be doing for so long was a bit humbling.
She kind of had to laugh at the look on Harry’s face. The guy had gone from condescending, moderately pissed assholery to incoherent worshipful awe in about 5 minutes. She raised her hand in acknowledgement of the applause, then lowered. When she did, everyone stopped clapping. Uh, oh. Speech time.
“Hi, everyone,” she said sunnily. “Thanks so much for coming! Ya know, we were here in London to talk to the Ministry anyway about out new Slayer Academy and we were pleased to get invited to the party. You could have knocked me over with a feather – well, maybe a troll hammer, anyway – when the Minister told me he had a few awards to give us for our work in Sunnydale.”
“It’s kind of hard to believe that you guys have been tracking us (though we sure could’ve used a little help once in awhile, she mumbled) and it’s fantastic to be with an audience that really appreciates our work. And when I say our work, it is OUR work. I would literally not be standing up here right now without the people on this team, our team, the Scoobies of Sunnyhell. Maybe we should do an alumni T-shirt or something? While I would have gladly crawled out of my grave – and that’s harder than it looks, let me tell you -- to get that shiny Grand Diamond thingy, my crew of friends and fellow evil fighters made sure that wasn’t necessary. I may be the Chosen One™, but my life would have been nasty, brutish and short without these guys. So I would like to introduce to you tonight –
Willow Rosenberg, aka, Darth Willow, my bestest girlfriend and the greatest Wiccan in the world, caster of the spell which helped defeat the First Evil and remake the Slayer line.
Xander Harris, my other best friend, who saved my life after the Master killed me, has fought hand in hand with us for the last 7 years, and who has always seen the best and worst in all of us.
Faith Lehane, my sister slayer, the other Chosen One, who in addition to defeating Kakistos and many other major demons on her own, came to back to us in our key fight with the First and stood tall in leading the line against the Turok Han.
And finally, my Watcher, a fellow member of yours from Tweed Land, researcher extraordinaire, honorary Father to all the Scoobies, the connoisseur of concussions, and well-know n to the Wizarding World, I understand, Mr. Rupert Giles, Head of the new International Slayers and Watcher Council. Ladies and gentlemen, a big hand for the Scooby Gang.”
Riotous applause broke out again. All of them were well-known to the Auror community. Many of them had huge scores of their own on the Tote Board. There was genuine pleasure in seeing Buffy so generously acknowledge their role in her successes. Unlike the famous people in the Wizarding world, Buffy was apparently committed to keeping her gang together, no matter what troubles they might have encountered over the years.
Buffy continued on, “I know this is a special group of folks I’m talking to, in that you know about the Slayer. What we do, why we do it, where we do it and who we do it to. And, that worked w-a-a-a-y better in my head than it did out loud, I have to say.”
Laughter burst out quickly as Buffy blushed and shook her head in chagrin.
“But I would just like to introduce you to the fact that up until the time I was chosen, Slayers basically lived, fought, and died alone. Yes, with a Watcher. But the fight was theirs; until my first Watcher Merrick and Giles came along a Watcher almost never risked dying in the field with his Slayer.”
“Destiny is a funny thing. Even you don’t want it, even when you fight it, like I did, like Faith did, like I’m sure many other Slayers did, it still kind of gets under your skin. You and it pretty much become one. As often as I wanted to quit being the Slayer, to let Faith or someone else take over, it is a part of me, of my deepest identity, that I just can’t deny any more. That’s why when I came up with idea to make over the Slayer line, and Faith agreed with me, we had no problems in worrying about what would happen to the Potentials. Everyone has the potential and the desire to be a hero. What we did was to give each girl called to the Slayer line the power to be the hero of their own dreams. So far, we’ve identified more than 700 new Slayers, who’ll all gladly work to be that kind of hero, I’m very sure. It’s a legacy that I would never have imagined 8 years ago after getting arrested for burning down my high school gym to kill Master Lothos and his vamp army. It’s been worth the wait, nevertheless, to see a world of heroes coming forth. And to see that work valued, at least here in the Wizarding World.”
“I am therefore proud to announce that the ISWC and the Ministry of Magic of Great Britain, along with your Auror Force, have signed a mutual support agreement to fight supernatural evil as well as dark magicians and other such crimes in both the Wizarding and non-magical worlds. The hope with this alliance is that two strong forces for good can pre-empt the apocalyptic scenarios both groups have faced and lived through in the past, with great accompanying loss of life.”
“And to seal the accord, we have appointed a special go-between for the two groups. Both the ISWC and the Auror Community were delighted to discover the first Witch Slayer in more than a thousand years had been called with the others. This highly talented witch will serve as an active Slayer in the field, while also working closely with the Aurors to communicate and coordinate combined strategy and tactics for dealing with supernatural emergencies.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, witches and wizards, please give a big round of applause to the newly discovered Witch Slayer, Miss Ginny Weasley!”
Ron, glancing from Harry’s utterly gobsmacked expression over to Hermione, said to her quietly: “He’ll be needing a flock of drinks after this, I think.”
Hermione snorted indecorously, “Oh, well-spotted, Ronald. Well-spotted indeed.”
The Minister and the Chief Auror (a little toasty by this point), Round 3
In the almost empty Banquet Hall, 2:00 AM, June 16th, 2003
“Well, old top, how’d you think it went?”
“Absolutely smashing, my boy, the Summers bird was brilliant, the real thing. I wanted to put her in my pocket and take her home with me, she was so adorable. Outstanding, all around.”
"Tell me you didn't try anything with her!"
"I'm still alive, aren't I? You know what a healthy sense of self-preservation I have!"
“What about our more risk-prone Potter friend, then?”
“His mind was blown. He couldn’t stop asking questions about Buffy at first, then later on, all he did was follow Ginny Weasley around the room jabbering at her constantly.”
“Did Buffy ever return his wand?”
“She gave it to Ginny Weasley, who told him he’d have to earn it back.”
“Do you think it made any difference, old man?”
“Who knows? I did hear him ask Ron Weasley about how much he really liked being an Auror, and I also saw him bending Rupert’s ear regarding what qualifications they are looking for in the Watcher’s Council.”
“If God – or the Powers That Be, I suppose – were only merciful.”
“They are, mate, they are, the look on Harry’s face, first during the award ceremony, then when Ginny was introduced: priceless.”
“Agreed. And we can look at both of them over and over again in the papers tomorrow. Be sure to send several copies over to Harry’s flat first thing in case he’s no longer reading them.”
“What a day, all I can say for a finale is…”
And they chimed in together