I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the reviews. It was so nice to log on and to not only see that you are reading, but that you took the time to say something. It means a lot.
I also wanted to let you know that you're going to see some things moving forward that do not necessarily mesh with the original timeline of either universe. It will get explained in the context of the writing, but if you have questions I will be happy to address them.
Just so that you know, this story takes place after the fall of Sunnydale (I know, Travers totally didn't belong in the first chapter, but I liked him there and he probably won't show up again, so...) and during the Order of the Phoenix.
This is just for reference as the story isn't exactly canon.
Now, that is most definitely enough of that! Onward to the next installment!
*Disclaimer - I do not own either Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Harry Potter, nor do I make anything from writing fanfiction except for the satisfaction of entertaining others who, like me, wish the stories surrounding these characters would go on, and on, and on...
Giles gingerly placed the phone back in its cradle before turning to lean against the kitchen counter. Arms folded, he wore what Xander had long ago dubbed the "Giles-think face" but what Buffy recognized as a pensive, worried frown.
Buffy had made a half-hearted attempt not to listen in on what, for all she knew, was a private conversation. But two 'oh dears' and a handful of 'I sees' into it, she gave up all pretenses and sat at the bar watching him without even trying to conceal her curiosity.
And she wasn't the only one.
Though they hadn't made a sound, she was very aware that both Willow and Xander were standing just behind her…waiting, wondering, anticipating.
This is what destroying the hell mouth had turned them into - a bunch of over-eager, under-stimulated, eavesdroppers - and not for the first time Buffy thought that they could all use a hobby – preferably one that didn't involve the use of crossbows and God-hammers.
…or possibly what they each needed was some form of gainful employment.
Buffy snorted at that notion. Or not!
Giles removed his glasses and began to polish the already pristine lenses. "That was Quentin Travers."
"As is, head-watcher-guy, Quentin Travers?" Xander moved to sit on a stool to Buffy's right offering her a cursory grin.
"Only Quentin Travers I know." Buffy twisted her mouth, feeling the need to outwardly display her displeasure.
But the truth was that she was also a little bit excited. Even before Giles had started polishing his glasses – a telltale sign that something was up – Buffy hadn't for a moment believed that Quentin would call Cleveland just to check up on them. No, he would have a purpose. And while his reasons were, at least half the time, to throw them all into a whirlwind with some apparently scheduled, wholly idiotic and decidedly unnecessary task, there was also the chance that he had something important for them to do; slaying that needed to be done; a world that needed to be saved.
A purpose for the Slayer.
It had been a solid year since the fall of Sunnydale, and with its tumble into the abyss so went all of the worthwhile badness. Sure there were still vampires, not to mention the occasional Drokken Beast, Gavrok Spider and Skilosh Demon (or as Buffy like to call them "three-eyed creeps"), but without the constant threat of rising super-evil, the rest seemed to almost give up.
Yup. The bad guys didn't have their hearts in it anymore; they were apparently done with the unscrupulous and had settle for the slightly dodgy. And while Buffy had spent a huge part of her teenage years lamenting her need for a vacation, at the ripe old age of twenty-two she was feeling restless.
Not that she openly hoped that there was sudden, world-endangering trouble.
Of course not!
Or maybe she did?
Okay, she definitely did…but she was pretty sure she felt bad about that fact.
Still, it wouldn't do to sound too eager about the fact that the lead Watcher had contacted them out of the blue with a potentially harrowing tale of possibly evil deeds; the kind that would require the particular skill-set that only one girl, in all the world had at any one given time.
Nope, that wouldn't do at all.
"He's not going to strip the Buffster of her power and throw her in an abandoned house with a crazy vampire is he? 'Cause I am so not on board with that."
Xander gave Buffy a nudge and received an eye roll in return. "I'd like to see them try that again."
"Its…It wasn't about me?" Willow spoke tentatively, almost as though she feared the answer, and Buffy could have kicked herself for forgetting.
Willow had been attempting to become a full-fledge (not to mention paid) member of the Council since they had first settled in Cleveland. But they were hesitant, afraid even. Her turn to the dark side, brief though it was, wasn't working in her favor, and regardless of the progress she had made, regardless of the fact that she would be an asset with or without her magic, they were seriously dragging their feet with the whole process. And Buffy's support - her status as The One - wasn't doing a damned thing to help.
Suddenly all three of them turned to Giles, eagerly awaiting his response, and when he shook his head Buffy couldn't help but notice the instant sigh of relief that emanated from her friend nor the disappointed "oh" that quietly escaped her lips a mere moment later.
"I'm afraid not. This…this was something else entirely."
Buffy sighed dramatically. "Spill, Giles! What's the what…or, you know, the who?"
"Yes, yes…so sorry I just…I'm not sure…" Giles replaced his glasses, and with a tweak of his eyebrow and took a deep breath. "Quentin has requested our presence…elsewhere. Apparently there is something which needs our…or rather, the Slayer's….attention."
Buffy wasn't sure what to make of that ambiguous and very un-Giles-like statement. "But we just got settled here. Isn't it a little soon for an elsewhere?"
"We're not to leave permanently. At least, I don't think that's what he meant. There is simply a problem abroad – our kind of problem – and he wants us there right away."
Buffy could feel a little jolt, a slight rush. "What kind of problem?"
Buffy scrunched up her nose. "That's not vague at all."
"When do we leave?" Came Willow's soft voice and Buffy couldn't help but turn to look at her. There was a twinge of excitement in those simple words. Not just excitement, happy excitement; something that had been absent from the young witch's voice for far too long. Apparently Buffy wasn't the only one whiling away the hours, waiting for something to do.
Xander must have caught it too, for he wound his arm behind Buffy's back to rest a gentle hand on Willow's shoulder. "Yea, when do we leave? I'll need to get a couple of things; a suitcase, some of those little, travel-size bottles of dandruff shampoo…"
"Quentin did not say for all of us to go." Giles made an attempt to look apologetic and failed. "Only Buffy and myself."
"That's not fair!"
"No way…Uh huh, Giles! I can't go to….where are we going again?"
"Oh right. London, at least to start. Though I got the impression that we won't be staying there. According to Quentin, we will be meeting a third-party at Heathrow and they will fill us in on the details as they take us to our destination."
Buffy leaned back, her watchful, green eyes trained on her mentor. London! She'd never been to London. She'd never been anywhere because the Watcher's Council never sent her anywhere.
Her eyes narrowed, never taking them from Giles. London? She got the distinct impression that he was leaving something out and as he squirmed slightly under her gaze, she knew she was right.
"Is that all he said?"
He shook his head. "He did offer a few other details." His eyes scanned briefly over Willow and Xander. "Very few. However, I think it best not to divulge the full extent of our conversation at this time."
"God, Giles! How many times have we been over this in the past...what? Seven years? These guys… "Buffy paused long enough to emphatically indicate her two best friends. "They're my loop. So you and me, we keep them…you know…in the loop. It's chi, or something." She frowned, uncertain if that had been the best way to make her point.
"Of course. How silly of me. Wouldn't want to interfere with your chi."
But regardless of Buffy's less-than eloquent attempt to express herself, Giles quickly – some might even say suspiciously so – relented. "I don't know exactly why Quentin has requested we go to London. However, he did say that our business was not with the Watcher's Council, but with a different sort of organization. An Order, he called it."
"More with the vague?" Buffy rubbed her temple, sighing. "So the Watcher's Order?"
"No, not Watchers…wizards…and I believe the term he used was 'Order of the Phoenix.'"
That certainly got everyone's attention. Buffy let her hand fall back to the bar and fought the urge to smile. One look at Xander, and she could tell he was engaged in a similar battle.
"Wizards? As in Gandolf?"
Willow, on the other hand, didn't look amused; she looked to be in awe. "No." Softly at first, but then she turned on Buffy so quickly that the Slayer was nearly knocked out of her seat. "No, no, no, no, no…. Wizard's, Buffy! As in the male equivalent of witches!"
Buffy found it hard not to smile at her friend's obvious excitement. "I thought those were warlocks."
Willow nodded even as she said "Not really!" And with that, the red-head turned away from Buffy, hands clasped tightly under her chin, and large eyes pleading.
"Please Giles, please! I have to go! I can't… not go! If ever there was a chance for me to learn how to control my magic; how to not get all black-eyed and, well, grrrrr….. I have to go, Giles! I…I just…" Her shoulders slumped and she let out a rather haggard breath. "I have to."
Giles opened his mouth, probably with some well-planed and beautifully articulated argument, but Buffy wasn't about to let this go. "So Quentin said only you and I can go?"
"He certainly indicted as much."
"Indicated? Giles, what were his exact words?"
"He said for you and I to arrange a flight into Heathrow as soon as possible and to contact him the moment we have our itineraries."
Buffy nodded, a sly smile tugging at her lips. "But he didn't say that Willow and Xander couldn't go?"
Giles' mouth formed a thin, straight line. "He did not expressly state as much, no."
"However, he was still fairly clear."
Buffy narrowed her gaze and chewed momentarily on her bottom lip. "But, as you said, he didn't explicitly forbid it, which – and, correct me if I'm wrong – could leave his instructions open to the teensiest bit of interpretation…."
Giles removed his glasses, clearly irritated as he began to rub the bridge of his nose. "Buffy…"
"And I need them. Willow's always so helpful with the…the magic. And, then Xander…with…with…" She sighed, tossing a flippant hand in the air. "Well, you never know when I might be in need of a new weapons chest."
"And..and…and…besides! I tend to wrap these things up pretty quickly and who am I supposed to sight see with once the slaying is done? Europe, Giles! I want to do Europe-y things and I want to do them with my friends!"
"Very well." Giles replaced his glasses, looking pointedly at Buffy. "And how do you expect them to pay for their tickets?"
She hadn't thought of that. They'd pretty much been mooching off of the Watcher expense account, justifying it because they really did sometimes help with the whole world-saving business.
She smiled, her eyes crinkling mischievously. "I assume that you still have that shiny, platinum-colored card hiding in the top drawer of your desk…"
"How….how did you…"
"Which, if I'm not mistaken, is set aside for expenses associated with my Slayer stuff?" She wiggled her eyebrows.
Giles blinked several times in quick succession, opening and closing his mouth several times as though to speak, but apparently her dear Watcher had nothing to say.
"The carp look, Giles, doesn't really do anything for you."
His jaw snapped shut and he cross his arms tightly over his chest.
Xander slapped Buffy gently on the back, and Willow couldn't help the huge smile that took over her face as she leaned to whisper to her friends. "By Jove, Buffy, I think you've flummoxed him."
"Bothered and bewildered." Xander added, his expression matching Willows.
"So what do you say, Watcher mine?" Buffy suppressed her own, smug grin and opted instead for fluttering eyelashes and bated breath. No one could resist sweet and demure Buffy.
Giles looked from Willow to Xander before his eyes finally lighted on Buffy and there he sighed and with a toss of his hands, they knew they had won.
"Fine!" He said, but not without pointing an accusing finger their way. "But I expect you all to conduct yourselves appropriately and to remember that this is hardly a vacation."
The three nodded at him like over-excited bobble heads.
"And you will listen to me. I know very little about wizards or their culture, but I do know that of the four of us I have a lot more experience and am far better versed in cross-cultural interactions. You will behave and you will defer to me. Am I understood?"
In answer he received two very loud, very high-pitched girlish squeals and a single fist-pump.
"I'm going to go pack." Willow announced, jumping up and down. "Oh my god! Wizards!"
"And I've got to go stock up on those afore mentioned bottles of shampoo."
"Ooo!" Buffy popped up from her seat and reached into her pocket, pulling out a twenty before whirling on Xander. "Can you grab me one of those electric, switch things?"
Xander gave her a quizzical look. "Ah, sure. Could you, maybe be a little more specific?"
"One of those…um, you, know, they make it so that American electronics are, like, metric."
"They have different electricity?"
"Oh, for…for crying out loud. Metric?" Giles kicked himself away from the counter and headed out of the kitchen, speaking derisively all the way. "It's called a voltage converter and they have the same electricity, they only have a slightly different way of plugging things in"
They could hear him as he banged up the stairs. "This is precisely what I was speaking of...You'd think there was only one country…"
Xander snatched the twenty out of Buffy's hand. "Voltage converter...right…"
And as the door to Giles' room shut, they could both hear one last, strangled grasped of frustration. "Metric..."
"Imagine, Buffy. A whole country full of Gileses."
Buffy nodded, looking up the stairs and smiling broadly. "Tea, tweed and "Oh my's"?"
"That's what I'm talking about."
"Look on the bright side, Xander; maybe we'll finally learn exactly what he means when he calls you a 'stupid prat'."
Xander cringed. "Yea, I'm pretty sure I don't want to know that one."
"No worries. I've watched reruns of Absolutely Fabulous on BBC and am pretty sure that Giles is extreme Brit of the super-starchy variety. I'm willing to bet that these wizards were going to meet are far less stodgy and will be a lot more open to our supreme diverseness."
And with that thought Xander left and Buffy ran up the stairs to pack, quietly humming 'London Calling.'