The little bell above the front door of the Magic Box jingled as the door was opened.
Anya quickly came around the counter. “Oh! A customer!”
As Dawn entered the shop, Anya grumbled, and turned to make her way back to the cash register.
“Hey guys,” Dawn greeted. She pulled a stool up to the counter, plopped down on it, and let her school bag fall to the floor, where it landed with a surprisingly loud thump. With a groan, she leant forward and unzipped the stuffed bag, pulling out her history text and notebook, which she placed on the counter, then pulled the heavy bag up into her lap to begin the daunting task of finding a pencil.
As Dawn rummaged through her bag, Willow looked up from where she was sitting at the round table, smiling.
“Hey, Dawnie. So, how’s the tenth grade so far?”
Dawn glared. “Two days! It’s only been two days and I’m already up to my ears – no, scratch that, more like over the top of my head – in homework,” the teen replied, now dumping the contents of her bag onto the counter, still unable to find any sort of writing utensil.
Tara smiled sympathetically as she looked up from her text. “Want some help?”
Finally finding a pen, Dawn replied, “No, I’m good. It’s easy, but just insanely boring. So, what are you guys doing?”
Xander looked up then. “Research,” he held up the book he was currently looking through, “Y’know, about the wolf-thing that attacked you and Tara. He’s just lucky my manly self wasn’t there to kick his ass.”
Dawn smiled, then suddenly remembered something. “It spoke. I remember it said something –”
“‘It’s not all here’,” said Tara.
Xander frowned. “What’s not all there?”
Tara’s brows contracted in thought. “I’m not sure.”
“It could talk?” asked Willow, frantically flipping backwards through the pages of the book on the table in front of her. “Aha!” she exclaimed, pointing to a drawing on one of the first few pages of her book, “I saw this earlier, but I wasn’t paying much attention. I did remember the talking thing, though. Is this it?”
Dawn hopped off her stool and rushed forward while Tara leaned over to look at the book. “Yeah,” they both replied at once.
“Hmm…” Willow flipped the page and glanced through the information. “Well, they are related to Lycanthropes, but they’re way bigger and much stronger. Apparently, they’re blind, but have an insanely good sense of smell. And their claws have poison in them that can be deadly if it isn’t fully removed within forty-eight hours. As you said, they have the power of speech. They can also sometimes have dealings with humans; they’ll do work for them, as long as they get something in return. Loosely translated, this book says the name means ‘Claws of the Night’… Hmm, it also says they’re sometimes associated with ogres…”
Everyone turned to look at Anya when she let out a blissful sigh from where she was leaning on her elbows on the counter. “I once dated an ogre.”
“Um, wasn’t that a troll?” asked Willow.
“No, I also dated an ogre.” She smiled dreamily. “A few hundred years ago. His name was Hanog; very attractive. He had this great thing he would do –”
Anya was cut off as Buffy came through the door at the back of the store closely follwed by Giles.
“Got anything yet?” Buffy asked.
Willow nodded, holding up her text. “Called ‘Claws of the Night’, looks like a huge werewolf, poisonous claws, really good sense of smell, but it’s blind –”
“How do I kill it?” Buffy asked abruptly.
“Silver bullet… But, Buffy,” Willow continued, a slight frown creasing her brow, “it also says here that these things sometimes have dealings with humans. It could’ve been working for someone.”
“And it was looking for something,” added Tara. “It said ‘It’s not all here’… So it was looking for something in particular.” She looked back down and ran her finger over the text, looking for a specific sentence. “But this book says that these creatures just kill whatever they run into, they don’t care what, or who, it is.”
“Okay, so I just beat it until it tells me whether it’s working for someone… You did say it could talk, right?”
Willow, Tara, Dawn and Xander nodded.
“Okay, then if it’s working for someone, I find out who. If not, I kill it. How can I kill it, again?”
“Silver bullet to the heart. Cutting off it’s head always works too,” replied Willow.
“Does it happen to say where the thing might be staying?”
“Hmm…” Willow flipped the page. “Well, it says they like to stay in the shadows, but they also like more populated areas; y’know, lots of yummy people to eat.”
Buffy nodded, and turned back around to get her jacket from the training room.
Giles walked around the round table littered with books, and took a teapot from the smaller table that was up against the wall. As he was pouring the hot liquid into a cup, the little bell jingled, signifying the opening of the front door. Giles jumped slightly at Anya’s loud exclamation of “A customer!”, causing him to splash the (very hot) tea onto his hand and down the front of his shirt. He let out a yelp of pain.
Everyone who was sitting at the table turned their heads from the direction of the new customer to look at Giles questioningly.
“Nothing, I’m quite alright,” he assured them, setting down his teacup.
Everyone turned to look back at the man examining the various objects on the tables and shelves, while Giles attempted to wipe the tea from the front of his shirt with a napkin.
Anya hurried up to the tall man. “Hello, customer! How may I help you?”
The man smiled. He looked maybe in his late forties, early fifties, around Giles’ age. He wore glasses, and had hair as bright red as Willow’s. “Hello! Yes, I’m actually looking for someone; a Mr. Rupert Giles.”
Anya frowned slightly when she realized the man was not there to purchase anything.
Buffy suddenly appeared next to the ex-demon, from out of the back room, gazing at the man suspiciously; she had noticed his accent.
“Are you from the Council?”
The man shook his head. “No, just an old school friend. My name is Arthur Weasley.”
Giles, having finished mopping up the tea, tuned into the conversation. His eyes widened in surprise when he heard the man introduce himself in an all too familiar voice. He stuck his head around the bookshelf, and saw someone he had never expected to see again, just standing there with Anya and Buffy.
“Arthur?” Giles asked, coming around the shelf.
Mr. Weasley looked past the two women standing in front of him. “Rupert!”
Giles rushed forward and embraced his old friend. He pulled back smiling. “Arthur, how have you been?”
Mr. Weasley mirrored his friend’s smile. “Not too bad, although life has been rather hectic recently. And you?”
“Much the same as you, it seems.”
A throat was cleared somewhere behind them. Giles turned around to find that Dawn, Tara, Willow, and Xander had abandoned their places at the table to come and stand next to Buffy and Anya. Everyone was looking at Arthur and himself expectantly.
“Oh, yes…” said Giles. “Everyone, this is Arthur Weasley,” he gestured to the red-haired man. “We were close friends at school.” He gestured for Buffy and Dawn to come forward. “This is Buffy Summers, the Slayer, and her sister Dawn –”
“Uh, Giles aren’t you not supposed to be telling people who I am?”
Giles waved a dismissive hand. “He is quite aware of the Slayer, and he certainly won’t go parading it about.”
Mr. Weasley stuck out his right arm. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
Dawn immediately shook his hand, smiling widely. “Hiya! I’m Dawn, but I guess Giles already told you that.”
Arthur returned her smile. She looked to be about the age of Ron or Ginny.
Buffy was more hesitant, but she seemed to come to the decision that he was okay, because she took his outstretched hand, and smiled slightly. “I’m Buffy.”
Giles gestured the rest of the group forward. “This is Xander Harris, and Anya Jenkins.”
The two shook hands with Mr. Weasley. “It’s good to see the G-man had a life outside this,” commented Xander. Giles rolled his eyes before continuing.
“And this is Tara Maclay, and Willow Rosenberg.”
As Tara shook the man’s hand, she looked at him questioningly. “Are you a wizard?” she asked after a moment’s contemplation.
Mr. Weasley looked taken aback for a moment, but the smile quickly returned to his face. “Yes, I am.”
“Wicked cool,” said Dawn.
Tara smiled. “I thought I sensed something,” she said softly. “It’s nice to meet you. I’m Tara.”
Mr. Weasley looked at Giles.
“Both Tara and Willow practice wandless magic,” Giles answered his friend’s unspoken question. “They’re witches.”
Arthur nodded, then turned back to the group. He grinned when the final woman stepped up to him; she could’ve been one of his own, with hair like that.
“You use a wand? That’s so cute! I’m Willow, by the way,” she greeted cheerfully, grasping his hand.
Mr. Wealey laughed at her comment about wands. “Yes, I do use a wand. And it’s wonderful to meet you,” Mr. Weasley replied.
Giles stepped forward once more. “Would you like to sit down?” he offered, gesturing back at the table.
Mr. Weasley nodded, and the group moved back to the table. Willow and Xander cleared off some of the texts as everyone settled down on the benches.
“Now,” started Giles, “as much as it is a pleasure to see you again, Arthur, I feel obliged to ask why you have come.”
Arthur nodded. “Yes. Well, you see, I have come to ask for your help.” He hesitated. “And perhaps the help of Buffy as well, if she is willing,” he added, looking towards Buffy, before aiming his eyes back at Giles.
“Help?” asked Giles, his brow furrowing slightly. “What for?”
Mr. Weasley hesitated once more. “Voldemort is back.”
Buffy looked confused. “Vol-who?”
“Voldemort,” Tara said quietly.
Everyone looked at her; Giles looked especially surprised.
“My mom told me about him once, before she passed away…” Tara shivered. “The things he did…” she trailed off.
Willow took Tara’s hand in her own, giving it a comforting squeeze. Tara gave Willow a small smile.
“I knew Voldemort, he was pretty cool,” said Anya. “But I was evil back then. I’m an ex-vengeance demon,” she explained to Mr. Weasley, who looked slightly alarmed at this news.
“Anyway, back to Voldy-thing,” said Buffy. “Who is he? What did he do?”
“He’s a dark wizard,” Giles started, “a very powerful dark wizard. He wanted control over the whole wizarding world –”
“What?” Willow interjected. “There’s a whole world for this witch-y stuff? Why was I not informed of this?”
Giles waved a hand impatiently. “That’s not the point… So, he wanted power over the wizarding world, perhaps even the whole world. Now, in the wizarding world, there are people who are sometimes called ‘Purebloods’, witches and wizards who are descendants of witches and wizards, for generations and generations; they have pure magical blood. Then, there are what some people call ‘half-bloods’…”
And so Giles continued on with his story (with help from Arthur), recounting the rise and fall of Lord Voldemort; telling the tale of his followers, the Death Eaters; and then he told of the people who fought against the Dark Lord – a lot of whom were members of the Order of the Phoenix – to bring peace back to the wizarding world.
By the time he had finished, the sun had set outside. Everyone stared at Giles and Mr. Weasley in shocked silence.
“And now the question,” Mr. Weasley finally spoke, breaking the silence. “Will you come back and help us, Rupert?”
Giles nodded. “Of course I’m coming.”
Mr. Weasley smiled, but Buffy looked sharply at Giles. “What?”
Giles stood up, and gestured for Buffy to come with him, to the back room. He felt this was something between Buffy and himself. Once they were there, he said quietly, “Buffy, you have to understand how serious this is.”
“But you can’t just leave! I need you here!”
“No, Giles! I can’t… I need you! I can’t do this – this… being back here – without you.”
Giles sat down on the couch. “I know you weren’t there when all of this happened the first time around, Buffy, so – even though I told you all about him – I know you can’t fully appreciate how dangerous Voldemort is. But you have to understand how important it is that I go and help them!”
The glare melted from Buffy’s face and was replaced with a look of desperation. “Giles! Please! I won’t be able to get through this if you’re gone.”
“You will, Buffy. You just need to –”
“No, I won’t be able to!”
Giles looked sharply towards Buffy. “Yes, you can. You will be able to do this without me! … Buffy, I have to go help. If we don’t stop him, Voldemort could take control of the whole world.”
Buffy stayed silent for what seemed like an eternity. When she spoke, her voice was quiet, but determined. “Then I’m coming with you.”
“Buffy, the hellmouth –”
Buffy voice was still quiet, but still just a stubborn. “Nothing much seems to be going on around here, except for the one demon that attacked Dawn and Tara. I’ll find him, find out what he’s up to, and stop whatever is going on; just like I always do. And if this Voldy-guy is as powerful as you say he is… Besides, your friend said he wanted my help too, if I was willing. I’m willing. I’d rather go with you. I can’t stay here without you.”
“I still think it would make more sense –”
“No. If you’re going, then I’m going too,” said Buffy, her voice slightly stronger now.
There was a long moment of silence in which Giles looked at Buffy. He finally seemed to come to the decision that either Buffy might be right, or just that he couldn’t win the argument.
He sighed. “Alright.”
Mr. Weasley looked at Giles as they sat together on the couch in the living room of the Summers’ residence, where they sat when they had arrived back there from the Magic Box. “Rupert, there are a lot of things that have gone on since you left that I need to tell you about.”
Giles looked at Mr. Weasley, his brow creased in confusion. “What’s happened?”
“I know you left before Harry was born; before he managed to survive the Avada Kedavra; before Lily and James died.”
Giles nodded sadly. He’d heard about all of that not too long after his father had forced him to leave. He had very much liked James and Lily.
“Well, you remember how Sirius was convicted of being the one who sold them out to Voldemort?”
Giles scowled. He hadn’t been able to believe that Black had done that to the Potters when he had been told about it.
“Well, it wasn’t Sirius.”
Giles looked up. Mr. Weasley nodded, and continued. “It was Peter.”
Giles’ eyes widened. “What?”
“When Lily and James picked their secret keeper, obviously they made it Sirius. Then they realized it might have been too obvious. Voldemort would automatically assume it was Sirius, so at the last minute, they changed to Peter, who turned out to be a Death Eater.”
“What? Peter? A Death Eater?” Giles said incredulously.
Mr. Weasley scowled. “Yes. The problem was, when they changed their secret keeper, they didn’t tell anybody. Everyone thought it was still Sirius. And did you ever hear about when Sirius apparently blew up a whole street, killing twelve muggles and Peter?”
“That was Peter. He blew up the street, cut off his own finger, then transformed into his animagus form, a rat, and ran away. So, all they ever found of Peter was his finger, and they thought it was Sirius that had done it.”
Giles’ scowl matched Mr. Weasley’s. “Bloody hell.”
Mr. Weasley nodded again. “Yes, and we all believed it as well until just over two years ago. Harry, along with his best friends Ron – he’s my son – and Hermione found it all out. Over the next couple of years, Harry became very attatched to Sirius, as he was his godfather; he was like Harry’s brother and father all in one. But, I’m afraid something happened last June… Sirius was killed by Bellatrix Lestrange.”
Giles face fell slack. “What?”
Mr. Weasley had a very pained look on his face. “But that’s not quite all of it. Before Harry was born, there was a prophecy made about him; and Harry just found out about it this past June. After Sirius died, Albus decided that he had to tell Harry…”
Giles eyebrows contracted. “What did the prophecy say?”
Mr. Weasley hesitated. “It said… Either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives.”
Giles stared. A teenage boy? The only one who could stop Voldemort? He suddenly had the thought that Harry might get on well with Buffy.
Giles and Mr. Weasley entered the kitchen to find Buffy and Dawn arguing.
“Oh! Me too! I wanna come too!”
Buffy turned to glare at her sister. “Oh no, you’re not.”
Dawn glared right back. “No way am I staying here while you get to go fight this evil dark wizard guy! You can’t make me.”
Buffy raised an eyebrow, a smug expression on her face. “Wanna bet?”
Dawn’s eyes narrowed more.
“It’ll be dangerous, and you have school!”
Dawn rolled her eyes. “Oh yeah, ‘cause that’s SO something that will make me want to stay. And as for the dangerous thing… Hello! I have the Slayer for a sister! I’m always in danger; and according to you, especially so on Tuesdays.”
Buffy’s eyes narrowed like Dawn’s. “Tough. You’re staying here.”
“Who’s gonna look after Dawnie?” asked Willow. Tara, Xander, Anya and herself had decided earlier that they were coming to help as well.
“Well, there’s Spike…” Anya offered.
Buffy glared. “No way am I leaving Spike to take care of Dawn. Who knows how long we’ll be gone? It could be months!”
“As much as I’d like to stay with Spike… Buffy, I really want to come! I could help, and I promise I’ll stay out of trouble,” Dawn pleaded.
Buffy continued to glare at her sister. “No! Even if you DO manage to stay out of trouble – which I doubt – you still have school!”
Dawn narrowed her eyes at her sister’s slight on her behaviour.
“Well…” Willow started, shooting a glance at Buffy. “She could always do school by correspondence…”
Dawn smiled at Willow, but Buffy directed her glare at her so-called best friend. “Not helping.”
Willow shifted uncomfortably in her stool at the counter. “Well, I was just suggesting… If she can’t stay with Spike, what else can we do?”
Buffy glared at her watcher. “Giles, do something!”
Giles removed his glasses, and pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket, and began thoroughly wiping the lenses. After a moment, he replaced the glasses upon his nose. “I’m afraid that she’s right, Buffy,” he said slowly. “We can’t leave Dawn by herself, and if you’re not willing to have Spike care for her – which, I admit, I am not too keen on either – then it seems she’ll have to come with us.”
“So, does this mean I get to come?” Dawn asked, trying (but failing miserably) to control the excitement in her voice.
Buffy grumbled once more.
“It would seem so,” replied Giles.
Dawn squealed excitedly and jumped in her seat.
But then Dawn remembered it would mean that she wouldn’t see Spike for a very long time, and she sobered up a bit. She wasn’t sure how she would get by not seeing him; he had taken care of her so much over the summer.
“Dawnie?” Tara asked, noticing the sad expression on the girl’s face.
Buffy looked at her sister, no longer glaring. “What’s wrong, Dawn?”
Dawn looked up slightly, smiling hopefully. “Can Spike come?”
Buffy eyes widened, and she frantically shook her head, afraid that she would loose to her sister once more.
Ten minutes later, as Buffy was leaving the house to go patrolling, she was once again left grumbling and scowling.
How was it that the youngest always won?
End chapter 5
This is actually a revised version of this chapter. I want to thank raven for pointing out the problems for me; it was really appreciated, so, again, thank you.