Disclaimers, etc, see part one.
Authors’ Notes: Sorry for the delay in updating, but we’ve been ill. (And we can only meet once a week to write.)
We can’t promise to finish the next chapter soon. But it will include; the house, the twins, computers, Dumbledore, Hagrid, an arm wrestling competition and a pet that even Buffy won’t accidentally kill.... ... ...
Even four Weasleys together were a sight to see. Buffy could see how Giles had recognised their mother in the twins. Molly Weasley looked just everyone’s mother should. But there was more to her than that.
She pecked Giles on the cheek in greeting, raised a teasing eyebrow when he introduced Jenny as ‘my wife,’ and a speculative one when she was introduced to Buffy. Buffy had not joined the melee, and was instead standing back a little watching quietly. Molly was just about to go over to her when Fred and George pounced on her, demanding to know about any Muggle pranks she knew about.
Buffy frowned. She didn’t actually very much about pranking people. Incapacitating them, blowing up buildings, those she could do.
“There is this one where superglue a quarter to the pavement and watch people try to pick it up.”
“You wouldn’t be able to pick it up either, thought would you?” Fred asked.
“You could use a personal sticking charm,” George mused.
“Sometimes when tourists came to Sunnydale Xander would pretend that he was deaf and use this really phoney sign language.”
Thinking about Xander was not a happy thing to do. Buffy wracked her brain for more examples.
“You can hook an electric cable to a doorknob. But if it worked you might kill someone. You could just heat it up. I saw that in a movie once.”
“I think we could come up with a few little devices,” George told Fred.
The fresh ideas could always further adapted and developed.
They sat at one end of the table and Giles, Jenny, Molly and Arthur sat at the other. Molly, after watching the interaction between Buffy and the twins, noticed that while the girl seemed to be enjoying herself, she was also somewhat reserved and acted as a calming influence on the twins. Finally giving way to her curiosity as to the ‘why’ she turned to Jenny.
“Buffy isn’t your daughter, is she?” Molly asked, politely.
“No. Her mother died quiet recently. I taught Computer Science, a Muggle class, at her high school, Rupert was the librarian.” Jenny paused, “Actually that was only a cover for him. He was there as her Watcher, Buffy’s the Slayer.”
Molly nodded sympathetically. She knew enough about the Slayer to know that trying to raise one was not a task she wanted.
“How long ago was she Called?” Molly asked, glad that there was something they could talk about.
Jenny related as much of Buffy’s story as she felt she could. Steering clear of Vampire boyfriends and absent fathers, Molly still understood that Buffy’s current mental state was fragile at best.
“Time is the only thing you can give her,” she said.
“I know,” Jenny said. “But she’s doing better than one else could have, in the circumstances, and it would be an insult to her to make light of anything that has happened.”
“She lost her mother, too. I can’t image what that’s like. You won’t be able to take her place.”
Rather than being affronted, Jenny welcomed the motherly certainty behind Molly’s declaration. She gave a bitter little laugh.
“She’s made that perfectly clear.”
Molly smiled, again sympathetically, and steered the conversation towards pranks that Giles had pulled when he was at school. But she was watching Buffy interact with the twins, and it seemed the three of them were getting along. George seemed particularly taken with the young blonde. Molly smiled the smile that only mothers of boys can smile.
Buffy had retreated into herself as the list of jokes faded out. George cast around for something to talk about and caught part of the conversation from the other end of the table.
“Hey, Buffy, have you ever heard of the Slayer?”
“Yes. I know one,” she said, smiling.
“You mean they’re real?” Fred said. “They’re supposed to be nine feet tall, and have muscles like wrestlers.”
George was watching Buffy very carefully. He recognised the faint gleam in her eye. He echoed her smile with a startled, pleased one of his own. She nodded, just slightly.
“I bet she’d be a killer Chaser,” George said. “With the speed and agility. Not to mention the strength. I doubt Marcus would be able to stop a Quaffle thrown at him that hard.”
Fred looked at his brother strangely. So did Buffy.
“What’s a Quaffle?” she asked.
George looked shocked. Fred looked scandalised.
“But I thought your father was a Wizard,” Fred said.
“And yet you don’t know about Quidditch?” George said.
“First, he’s not my father. Second, I had no idea any of this world existed until a few weeks ago. Third, what’s Quidditch?”
Having gotten over their initial shock at her ignorance, Fred and George proceed to tell Buffy all about the positions in Quidditch, the tactics they employed against the different moves other teams made and several stories about Harry’s spectacular Snitch catches.
Fred and George were quite capable of keeping a raucous conversation going with just the two of them, even without Percy around to tease. Buffy felt quite comfortable listening to them argue and offering a small comment or question every now and then as she was pulled along by their good spirits.
Buffy felt vaguely pleased with herself by the end of the evening. She had learnt what were, apparently, the most important lessons of the Wizarding world; the snitch is worth an extra 150 points and umpiring is not a safe career move.
But by the time they had finished dessert and Arthur and Giles had run out of stories to tell she was beginning to feel weak. A strange combination of boredom and guilt had settled in her stomach and Buffy just wanted to curl up in bed with Mr Gordo.
She slept well for most of the night, until around two in the morning. The memories of her last moments with Angel haunted her dreams. She could feel his weight in her arms, his blood soaking through her clothes, his icy hand tangled in her hair.
She had woken up tied to a wall in the church Wetexia had claimed three weeks earlier. The chains fastened on her wrists and ankles had been just strong enough to prevent her breaking them. He had seemed amused each time he had come to check on her and found blood.
Wetexia had begun preparing the ritual when Angel arrived, his open shirt revealing arcane symbols inked onto his skin. Buffy had recognised them from Giles’s research; they were the symbols about to be painted on her own skin. Angel dropped his bloody sword to run to her side. She knew that this day was going to end badly.
He freed her from the wall, grabbed a sword for her, and they turned to battle Wetexia, together, their movements a dance of attack, parry, retreat, and attack, perfectly in time.
Wetexia was almost dead, but before the final blow fell, he chanted the last line, pierced his wrist with the dagger and threw across the church. In a rush of rage Buffy charged, skewering Wetexia, desperate to stop the ritual before it could be completed. She was too late.
The glowing had started. And by time Buffy had returned to Angel’s side the church was filled with light, which came from the symbols painted on the floor and from their partners on Angel’s skin. Angel stood beside where they were painted, and looked once at Buffy. She rushed over to him, telling him that they had to leave that place, that Giles would find a way to stop this. That it would be okay. Angel put a finger to her lips. She stopped.
“This is the way,” He said.
“No. How can you be sure?”
“Jenny showed it to me.”
He leant forward to kiss her gently, and take the stake she was holding, the last weapon she had held on to. Buffy, unwilling to let go, gripped the stake tightly.
“Close your eyes”
Buffy complied; she couldn’t refuse the quiet certainly in Angel’s voice. Angel kissed her again, for the last time
“I love you.” he whispered.
He plunged the stake into his stomach, stepping onto the symbols on the floor. Buffy felt his weight shift and the stake she still gripped move, his blood running down his arm, mingling with her own.
Buffy curled up under his head, supporting him, as his fingers twined in her hair. The light in the room was fading. Buffy bent down to whisper in his ear, “I love you.”
The last of the light disappeared leaving darkness and the weight of inevitability. She could feel his weight in her arms, his blood soaking through her clothes, his icy hand tangled in her hair. As his body finally turned to dust, she crumpled into the space he had occupied, still holding the stake that had stabbed him.
Buffy woke up sobbing. She cried herself out, hoping only that she didn’t wake Giles, and spent the night staring at the patterns of shadow on the ceiling.
At about eight o’clock Buffy left her room and went downstairs to brave the bar of the Leaky Cauldron. Giles and Jenny were discussing their plans for the next few days over breakfast. Buffy paused at the door to listen to their banter.
“So we agree to getting Giles House opened first. You may know the wizarding world better than I, but moving into a house without preparing it first is like the Emperor leaving Vader to be killed and expecting him to remain loyal.”
“Dearest, you know I love you in every way imaginable but, I have absolutely no idea what you just said.” Rupert paused to kiss her. “By context I am assuming it is not good. You know I have very little knowledge of Romany History.”
Jenny burst out laughing.
“Darth Vader. Rupert, tell me you’ve seen Star Wars?”
Buffy laughed out loud. Giles looked sheepish, embarrassed, annoyed and bright red. He stuffed half a tomato into his mouth and glared at his plate. Jenny chocked back her laugher. She smiled gently when she saw that Buffy was amused by Giles’s plight and not defensive of him.
“Would you like some breakfast, Buffy?” Jenny asked.
Buffy looked at the pile of food on their plates; toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms, sausage, and a potato waffle.
“That looks good. Can I have an orange juice, too, please?”
Giles had recovered, slightly, from his acute embarrassment enough to call Tom over to take Buffy’s order. He grinned at her through the gaps in his teeth.
“Good to see a lass your age eating properly,” he said.
“Slayer metabolism,” Buffy confided in Giles as Tom left. “It’s one part of the package to be thankful for. What are we going to do today?”
Giles swallowed his mouth full of egg and toast.
“Jenny is organising the house. Apparently owning and running a large and dangerous library isn’t experience enough to prepare a house for habitation.”
“You’re a guy Giles, you just don’t have the right chromosomes.”
“We should be able to move in for the start of next week,” Giles continued, “I thought in the meantime I could teach you some more wand-work.”
Buffy’s plate of food and glass of drink arrived and she took a sip to fortify herself for the task of eating.
“Sounds fine,” she said.
The rest of the week passed in a similar manner. Jenny did most of the work organising the house and their move to England. Giles spent the week tutoring Buffy through the first year curriculum. Charms and Transfiguration were Giles’s particular strengths, and Buffy also had little trouble with Defence Against the Dark Arts. They didn’t bother with History of Magic, and Buffy was left alone with the Potions texts as Giles claimed he had more than enough to do with the subject. He had passed his NEWTs, and that was the end of it.
In between lessons and filling out forms Buffy was able to explore the wonders of Diagon Alley and the surrounding streets. She bumped into the twins a few times or visited their shop. More often than not it was actually George bumping into her. He was always pleased that she knew that it was him. And she found that she was never displeased to see him. She also spent a lot of time at Florean Fortescue’s eating triple chocolate sundaes; the ultimate answer to melancholia.