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The Other Girl

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This story is No. 9 in the series "Red Raider". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Tales of Buffy and her other witch (sequel to 'A Girl and Her Toys')

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > Buffy-Centered > Pairing: Ginny Weasley(Moderator)acsFR18628,13577221,53226 Jun 0425 Dec 10No

Trumps - Works - (Pt. 2b - The Burrow)

Author's Notes: This is just a glimpse into Buffy and Ginny's first visit to the Burrow. It isn't a minute by minute account of their time there. That would be boring. To read and to write.

Reminder: This is AU (and not just because it's a crossover.). A number of events that occur in the Potterverse, including deaths/non-deaths of assorted characters, occurred very differently in this story, if at all. It ignores most of HP Books 6 & 7 (HBP & DH). And, most of that takes place while Buffy was in high school so it's ancient history anyway and only relevant as character background.

It took 3 years to get this part as coherent as it is. Apparently, the last part of the Burrow visit is taking a lot longer.

Word Count: 5,769



Following Ginny's directions, Buffy pulled into a barely visible driveway on the edge of the small village. It was close, just barely passable in their small car, the tires digging into the rough gravel surface.

"You realize, if we scratch the paint Giles is going to make us walk the rest of the trip," Buffy told her, visibly wincing at the sound of branches brushing against the sides of the car. "And if we're lucky he'll let us have a head start before Haruka finds out what we did to one of her precious babies."

Ginny grimaced at the comment, she hadn't given this part of their trip much thought. She normally apparated right to the front door. "I'll take care of it before we head back," she told her, ignoring the look Buffy gave her. "No one will ever know."

"Your funeral," Buffy muttered, shaking her head as she parked in the open space in front of the back door.

Delaying their exit from the car for a moment, Ginny reached for Buffy's hand, squeezing it hard to keep Buffy focused on her and not the impending meeting with her mother. She could almost taste her agitation in the close quarters.

"Don't worry," she said.

"I'm not," Buffy said, taking a deep breath before visibly pulling herself together, becoming outwardly calm, like the consummate politician Ginny knew she'd become, putting on the face she showed to the world. Nodding at her, Buffy swung open the door and climbed out of the car, leaving it feeling infinitely empty and lifeless, sending a brief chill through Ginny.

She watched Buffy for a moment, impressed. Even here, without trying, she seemed to dominate her surroundings, like a dainty force of nature. Shaking her head, Ginny took a deep breath to calm her own nerves before opening her door. Brushing crumbs from a muffin she'd eaten earlier in their trip from her clothes, she looked around at the familiar sight. Nothing seemed to have changed in the months she'd been gone and she suspected that ten years from now it would still look the same. In the muggle world change was a constant thing. Here, only the people changed. And even that was rare.



Molly was putting the finishing touches on the kitchen when she heard a car pull up to the house. Looking around quickly, she put the pot on for tea and headed for the door. For once she wasn't going to wait for her daughter's knock. She had a feeling that this visit was too important to indulge her youngest in one of her quirks.

Throwing open the door, she stepped out into the morning sun. The car didn't look like anything special. As far as she could tell it was just another bland muggle vehicle. She stood still for a moment while they extracted themselves from it.

Molly's first impression was that Ginny's friend was a tiny thing, not thinking about her own diminutive height. She was small and fragile looking, especially with Ginny towering over her on her right. Until now she'd never really thought of her daughter as tall, but standing next to someone just barely taller than herself it was hard to ignore. Not that they looked odd together. In fact, Molly thought, there was something striking about the two women standing next to each other, their red and blonde hair blowing together in the slight breeze.

Unable to contain her excitement for a second longer, Molly rushed over and pulled Ginny into a quick hug. This had been the longest she'd gone without seeing her daughter since Auror training and as much as she loved Hermione and enjoyed her presence she wasn't a substitute for her own little girl.

"Look at you!" Molly whispered into her ear before stepping back. Molly could only stare in wonder. She'd heard Hermione and Harry discussing on more than one occasion why it was so easy for them to tell muggles from wizards dressed as muggles. She wondered what they would think of Ginny right at this moment. She wasn't wearing the same kinds of strangely colored clothes she'd been wearing when she'd returned from that Wiccan coven's training. From her earrings to the sandals on her feet, Ginny looked very comfortable in what she was wearing. She wore her muggle clothes as if she'd been dressing that way all her life.

"Mum, this is Buffy," Ginny said, resting a hand on the other woman's shoulder. Molly detected a distinct sparkle in her eyes as she introduced her companion.

Ignoring the hand Buffy politely held out, Molly leaned forward and pulled the surprised woman into a hug. Releasing her, Molly took a closer look at the two of them. From the startled look on Buffy's face, she suspected that Ginny's hand was more than a friendly gesture. "Tea should be ready in a minute. Ginny, I've put you in the twin's old room and Buffy next door in Percy's room." she said. "Why don't you show Buffy up. I'm sure you both need to freshen up after traveling in that contraption."

"I'll get our things," Buffy said gruffly. Turning around, she reached into the car and grabbed two small handbags. Handing them to Ginny, she stepped to the back of the car, the trunk opening as she reached it, causing Molly to jump. Pulling out two small suitcases, Buffy took one of the handbags from Ginny before handing her a suitcase.

Raising an eyebrow at her abruptness, Molly looked at her daughter, who shrugged. Nodding, Molly ushered them into the kitchen.



Stepping into the small house, Buffy felt an echo of a familiar tingle. There seemed to be an extra brightness, almost a sparkle to the room they entered. Trying not to stare, she followed Ginny through the kitchen, down a narrow hallway, and up a flight of stairs that creaked with each step. She would have to ask Ginny about it later.

"Here we are," Ginny said, dropping her suitcase in front of one door and gesturing to the other.

Buffy cautiously opened the door and stepped into the bedroom. In the dim light from the window, the room seemed ordinary, with a bed, the ever present wardrobe, bookshelves, and a desk. Even empty, there was a distinct 'maleness' to the room, though she couldn't say what gave her that impression. She assumed it was one of those slayer intuition things she'd given up figuring out years ago.

"Ginny?" she asked, raising her voice slightly as she looked around.

"Yes?" came the muffled voice from down the hall.

"Light switch?" Buffy asked, not seeing one anywhere. She didn't need the extra light but certain habits were ingrained and trying to appear normal around people who didn't know about slayers was one of them.

"Oh," Ginny said, walking in. Waving a hand she spoke a quick Latin phrase. "Just say 'Lights On' or 'Lights Off'."

"The whole house is like this, isn't it. Everything runs by magic," Buffy said, sighing as the reality of what Ginny had told her earlier really sank in. "I've landed in Oz."

"Yes," Ginny said, a small grin appearing briefly on her face. "Sorry, but I did warn you."

"You did," Buffy said. "It just didn't occur to me until just now what that meant. I'm not going to be able to use my hair dryer, am I."

"No," Ginny said, agreeing with her. "We'll work something out."

"Okay," Buffy said. She would worry about the potential for dressing embarrassment later.

"Let me show you my old room," Ginny said, stepping out of the room.

Closing the door behind her, Buffy followed Ginny up another two flights of stairs.

"I had this floor to myself," Ginny told her. "One of the benefits of being the youngest."

"It seems like a larger house on the inside," Buffy said. "A lot of space."

"It wasn't, not really. Especially with Ron and the twins running around," Ginny said. "The stairs have 5 landings and the attic but it's really only three stories." She pushed open the only door on the floor, revealing a small bedroom. "This seemed a lot larger when I was growing up."

Buffy looked around, taking in the cluttered room. In one corner was a large bed, covered in a gold and maroon trimmed comforter, decorated with a field's worth of flowers. Against another wall was a small pink desk.

"It isn't much," Ginny said, gingerly sitting on the bed. "All of my things were moved out ages ago."

"So, no embarrassing evidence of childhood crushes on favorite celebrities?" Buffy asked, leaning against the door.

"No," Ginny said, smirking. "When you have six older brothers you learn to hide that kind of thing away or you don't keep it. They never figured it out."

"I had to have a separate diary, hidden away where even Dawn couldn't find it." Buffy said, laughing. "And even then I had Giles put a spell on it so only I could open it, though I never tested that."

"That wouldn't have kept Fred or George out," Ginny said. "They would have considered it a challenge."

"Dawn and I have an understanding, now. As long as I don't catch her reading it, I pretend that she doesn't," Buffy said. "When I die she's going to get them all anyway."

"Even your private ones?" Ginny asked, leaning back against the wall.

"No such thing when you're a slayer," Buffy said, frowning. "Too many important things could be buried in them. The old Council did it to control their slayers. Hard to think for yourself when you know someone can read your private thoughts at any time. Giles claims we're better than that. Some days I'm not so sure but at least we try to respect privacy."

"Tea's ready!" floated up to them from the kitchen.

"How could I forget that," Buffy mock grumbled. "No coffee until we get back to London."

"You'll survive," Ginny said, holding the door open for her.

"Maybe you could magic some up for me?" Buffy looked at her companion hopefully, wondering if a small pout might help.

"Maybe. If you're good," Ginny said, winking at her.

"Me?" Deciding that a pout would be overkill, Buffy gave her an innocent look and stepped past her into the hall. "I'm always good," she threw over her shoulder, not stopping when she reached the stairs, ignoring the laugh Ginny quickly suppressed.



Things had been going well so far, Ginny thought, watching her mother setting the table with a quick swish of her wand. They'd spent the rest of the afternoon catching up on all of the family gossip with her mother while her father was visiting old friends. Buffy had managed to appear interested even though Ginny knew she must have been very lost, if not outright bored. Now they just had to make it through dinner and the inevitable evening interrogation.

"Have a seat, girls," her mother ordered while she fussed with several pots on the stove. "Ginny, if you could pour the wine?"

"Yes, Mum," she said, gently pushing Buffy away from the cupboard the wine was stored in.



"Buffy, this is Percy," Ginny said, as another red head joined them.

Buffy smiled politely across the table at her third male Weasley. Where Ginny's father had that raggedy retired bourgeois look, and Bill had looked like he'd be more at home outside, Percy almost dripped with the faux sincerity of the consummate politician.

Ginny refilled Buffy's plate, ignoring her faint glare. She'd noticed that Buffy tended to eat less food than she knew a slayer needed when they were out in public. She'd forgotten to explain to her that her mother was used to feeding her brothers and their large appetites so Buffy didn't have to starve herself. Not that she'd ever seen her out-eat Ron even at her hungriest.



"That's an interesting clock," Buffy murmured to Ginny before approaching it for a closer look. There were a large number of hands with names painted on them. She recognized most of them as Ginny's brothers, whose names she'd memorized on their trip up from London.

Around the face of the clock were different activities such as 'Home', 'Mortal Peril', 'School', and 'Shopping'. Bill's pointed at "Traveling". Charlie's hand pointed at "Work". Ginny's pointed at 'Home'.

"Yes," Ginny said. "Unless you're a teenager."

"It would make it hard to sneak out at night, wouldn't it," Buffy said, trying not to giggle. "I think we could use one in the Cleveland office."

"It wouldn't last a week," Ginny said, "before it had an 'accident'."

"We could put it in Giles' office," Buffy said. "The only one who ever goes in there is Dawn."



Leaning forward, Buffy gently squeezed Ginny's hand in support. It was obvious to her that Ginny, usually the calm one in sticky social situations, was extremely nervous. She was nervous herself but she'd been in what Dawn called her schmooze mode since they'd gotten there. And years as a slayer had given her a lot of practice in hiding her emotions.

"Think they'll notice?" Ginny asked, a slight waver in her voice giving her away.

"Notice what?"

"That I don't really want to be here?" Ginny rubbed her forehead with her free hand. "Who's idea was this?"

"Visiting your parents? Or me joining you for the festivities?" Buffy said, unable to stop a small giggle from escaping at Ginny's expression.

"You didn't have to agree to it," Ginny mumbled.

Buffy decided that reminding Ginny of her own reluctance to undergo a Weasley family interrogation would be an astronomically bad idea.

"If we can make it through lunch and dinner with your parents and Percy, we can survive anything your other brothers might throw at us," Buffy said.

"That wasn't normal," Ginny told her.

"They seemed fine to me," Buffy said.

"My father didn't ask about anything muggle. Not once," Ginny said.

"What do you mean?"

"He's fascinated by ordinary machines and anything else that doesn't run by magic. But he didn't ask to see your phone, not even once."

"So?"

"I told you how he likes taking non-magical things apart, but he hasn't even tried today," she said. "Not even your phone."

"Is that why you had me bring a field phone instead of my regular one? So mine wouldn't get destroyed?" Buffy asked, looking at her in surprise. "You do realize that the first phone Willow tried her invulnerability spell on was mine. Right? It's much tougher than a field phone."

"Oops?" Ginny shook her head, a small smile replacing her earlier frown. "No, I wasn't aware of that."

Buffy shook her head. "Who do you think is going to show up tonight?"

"Just family," Ginny said reassuringly. "Mum said everyone is curious about what I've been doing in Cleveland."

"And family is?" Buffy prompted.

"I don't expect Percy to show up. He met you at dinner."

"He didn't say much," Buffy said.

"If he really wants to talk seriously he'll do it privately somewhere," Ginny said. "Hermione'll be here tonight. And Ron will be with her. They spend more time together than people who've been married for years."

"How about your friend Harry Potter?" Buffy asked. She briefly wondered if the faintly nauseous feeling in the pit of her stomach was jealousy but just as quickly dismissed it. She and Ginny didn't have the close kind of relationship that would cause that, she thought.

"If he's not busy," Ginny said. "The easiest way to get him to show up somewhere is to make sure Hermione and Ron are there. It's hard to explain."

"Hmm..." Buffy wondered if Hermione, Ron, and Harry Potter were like she, Willow, and Xander used to be. She'd shared a closeness with her two best friends that she'd reveled in at one point. Where one of them would be, the others would follow. Something else she'd lost after her resurrection. Xander often treated her like a distant younger sister, varying between paternalistic and condescending depending on mood, but she was starting to get back that kind of closeness with Willow, years later. She suspected she and Ginny had the potential for something beyond that if she didn't screw it up like she had previous relationship beginnings. "I've seen that kind of thing in the past," she told her. "Anyone else?"

"I have four other brothers. Any one of them might show up," Ginny told her. "If Fred and George show up you'll need to watch out," she added.

"Why?" Buffy asked, trying to remember what she'd been told about them.

"They own a joke shop," Ginny reminded her.

Frowning, Buffy raised an eyebrow at her.

"They own a joke shop," Ginny repeated. "And they like to test their new jokes out on family."

"Oh," Buffy said, finally understanding her concern. "Got it. No sampling the merchandise."



Buffy looked up at the tall redhead. He wasn't a giant but she suspected he was at least a foot taller than she was. And confused, if his mumbled greeting was any indication.

"I'm sensing a trend here," she said, giving Ginny an amused glance. "Everyone in your family is tall."

"No," Ginny said. "The twins are my height."

"Still tall," Buffy said, too low for anyone other than Ginny. "Not short yourself," she added, dodging Ginny's surreptitious elbow.

"Hi Buffy," Hermione said, joining them.

"Hey Hermione. Decided to join us in the land of the giants?" she asked with a wink and a nod in Ron's direction.

"Land of the giants?" Hermione looked puzzled for a moment. "Oh. Right," she said, giving Buffy a small smile. "You get used to it. Besides, Molly keeps them under control."

While Ron and Hermione were making themselves comfortable, Buffy heard an unfamiliar male voice.

"Good evening, Molly," the male voice said.

"More?" she asked Ginny in a low voice.

"That's just Harry," Ginny whispered.

"Good evening Mrs. Weasley," a second voice said. "You don't mind that I came with Harry? I heard Ginny was going to be here."

"And that's not," Buffy said, trying to place the additional voice. She'd heard it somewhere before.

"Ginny and her friend are visiting for several days," they heard Molly say.

"Oh, I don't mean to intrude. I can see her some other time."

"No, that's fine. Come along both of you. Ron and Hermione are already here."

"Ginny, Harry's here," Molly announced, entering the living room.

Buffy noticed that Ron and Hermione seemed to be watching Ginny closely as this Harry person entered the room. She briefly wondered what they were seeing before she caught sight of the last person to enter the room. The appearance of the older Patil sister, staring at her with wide, shocked eyes, was totally unexpected

"Miss Summers?" she said, looking back and forth between Buffy and Ginny.

"Padma," Buffy said, nodding in greeting.

"You know each other?" Ginny blurted out in apparent surprise.

Buffy raised an eyebrow at her reaction. Watching both women blush, she could feel the faint stirring of jealousy. Stomping down harshly on her feelings she decided to examine them later. Much later. "Padma's younger sister is attending school at our London campus," Buffy said. "And since I try to meet all of the parents and guardians of the girls who stay with us..."

"Oh!" Hermione said.

Buffy could almost see the lightbulb going off over her head. Clearing her throat, she shook her head at Hermione, hoping to stop her from asking any questions. For now anyway.



During their trip to the Burrow, Padma had more than once asked Harry, "Are you sure this won't be a problem?" Her unlikely relationship with Ginny hadn't been very deep, or long lasting, or even public knowledge but it was something she'd needed at the time. Ginny had helped her deal with suddenly being alone to take care of her squib sister, after her parents and Parvati had been killed by Death Eaters fleeing England after Harry and Neville had defeated Voldemort. Ginny's energetic presence had been the only thing to keep her sane during that very dark period of her life.

She wasn't sure if Ginny even knew how much she'd helped but Padma planned to never forget. She owed Ginny a debt that could never be repaid. So she'd been concerned when she'd heard through the grapevine that Ginny was working in America and where.

Most wizards in England weren't aware of places like the Cleveland Hellmouth but it was one of the names burned into her mind following the collapse of Sunnydale and its affects on her younger sister. She just wanted to make sure she was safe and when she'd heard that Ginny was visiting for several days she couldn't help herself.

But standing in the Weasley parlor, Padma stared, shocked at a totally unexpected sight, just barely making it through the introductions. The most important person in the Council of Watchers, according to her sister anyway, was sitting very close to Ginny.

Noticing the closeness of the two woman, she couldn't help blushing at the memories running through her head. In her past encounters with Buffy Summers, she'd noticed her powerful presence, something that has firmly squashed any thoughts she had left about the superiority of wizards. But never approachable on a personal level. Sitting next to Ginny, she seemed different. Still Buffy Summers but with an elegance and beauty that couldn't hide her power from anyone who really knew her.

Looking around the room as she took a seat between Hermione and Ginny, Padma wondered who else in the room knew who Miss Summers really was. This was the first time she'd run into anyone in the wizarding world with any connections with the Council. "Ginny? You work with Miss Summers in Cleveland?" she asked.

"Buffy, please," Miss Summers said, grimacing. "I think she's having too much fun right now to call it work, but yes, she's based in our Cleveland office."

"I work," Ginny protested, poking Buffy in a very familiar fashion. "You're just used to Willow's way of doing things. We aren't all omniscient Goddess types."

"Goddess?" Harry asked, joining the conversation, clearly interested.

Hearing a very indistinct but familiar grumble from Hermione, Padma turned to look at Ginny to see how she would answer. Willow was a somewhat mythical figure to Padma's sister.

"It's just an expression, Harry," Ginny said, shaking her head. "Though, she is a redhead so claiming divinity is understandable," she added with a smirk.

"She's very down to earth," Buffy said. "So Ginny fits right in."

"Will you be staying in Cleveland?" Padma asked, "Or shouldn't I be asking that," she said in a low voice catching Ginny's furtive glance towards her mother.

"I'm hoping she stays with us when Willow comes back," Buffy said, keeping her voice low in response as she leaned across Ginny to answer her.

"At least until I have a chance to use their library," Hermione said.

"There's a library you haven't used yet?" Harry asked, giving her a look of amused shock.

"Contrary to popular opinion, I do not live in a library, Harry Potter!" Hermione said, glaring at him.

"Not one for the books?" Buffy asked him.

"Hermione is so much better at looking things up," he admitted freely.

"Saved us more than once," Ron added.

"A team is only as good as its intelligence," Buffy said. "Brute force and cleverness only go so far. What?" she asked Ginny who'd started giggling.

"Dawn won't believe you said that," she said.

"And we won't be telling her," Buffy said firmly. "I've worked really hard at my image. Wouldn't want to ruin it with some sisterly mockery." Catching the wink Buffy gave Ginny at this pronouncement, Padma struggled to keep a straight face.

"You have a sister?" Harry asked.

"Yes," Buffy said. "She got all the tall genes in the family," she grumbled.

"You'll have to bring her with you next time," he said.

"She's too young for you, Harry," Ginny said, warningly.

"If she's as beautiful as Buffy," Harry started to say before being interrupted.

"I'm pretty sure you're not her type," Ginny said.

"You never know," Buffy said. "Maybe he is."

"No," Ginny said shaking her head. "But go ahead, I can't stop you."

"She's learning," Buffy said in a stage whisper to Hermione and Padma. "We do things the boss's way. Which would be me!"
"So, Harry, to check to see if you are Dawn's type, I need you to answer some questions," Buffy said. "Still want to do this?"

"Maybe?" Harry said nervously.

"Good," Buffy said, rubbing her hands together. "Ginny, don't forget to keep score."

"Yes, Boss," Ginny said.



After Ron, Harry Potter, and Padma had left, Buffy, Ginny, and Hermione joined Ginny's parents for their evening walk, a slow, rambling affair down scenic country lanes. Buffy stayed close to Ginny, occasionally brushing up against her, the brief moments of contact causing warm tingles. Mostly she listened as the two friends caught up on their lives, more interested in being in Ginny's presence than the actual topic.

They'd been walking for a while when Buffy's phone began chirping for her attention, interrupting their conversation.

"Sorry," she said. Stopping, she pulled it out of her pocket and silenced it. Looking at its display she motioned for them to continue without her. Once she was alone, Buffy returned the call.

"Giles? No, you didn't interrupt anything. What's the sitch?" Buffy asked. "Sure, we can do that. Anything special we should know? Okay, send what you have to my phone and I'll take a look before we head over there after lunch." Closing the call she stuffed her phone back into her pocket. Looking down the lane, Buffy quickly walked over to Ginny and Hermione who'd stopped several hundred feet away to wait for her.

"Business," she said in response to Ginny's raised eyebrow when she'd rejoined them. "I'll tell you later," she told her in a low voice, ignoring Hermione's curious expression as they hurried to catch up to Ginny's parents.



Relieved to finally have Buffy to herself for the first time since dinner, Ginny flopped onto Buffy's bed and leaned back against the wall. She watched Buffy pace in the small space for several minutes before saying anything. "What did Giles want?"

"Something strange happened at Stonehenge this afternoon," Buffy said. "He wants us to check it out tomorrow."

"Okay," Ginny said, barely containing her excitement at the idea of finally getting out into the field instead of keeping Willow's seat warm.

"It's probably just a false alarm," Buffy warned her, leaning against the window. "We can give it the official Council non-apocalypse seal of approval after lunch and be back here for dinner with your parents before we have to head back to London."

"But if it isn't?" Ginny asked hopefully.

"Yup. You can do the Willow thing," Buffy said, shaking her head, grinning slightly. "I'll just be the muscle."

Ginny gave her a disbelieving look. "Modesty? Are slayers allowed such a thing? Has the country air gotten to you?"

"Well, I do have a keen fashion sense and I am a black belt shopper," Buffy said, winking at her. "What more do I need?"

Standing up, Ginny sauntered over to her, stopping a foot away. Looking down at the smaller woman, she raked her eyes up and down her body. Giving Buffy a small smile, Ginny returned the wink before turning around and heading for the door.

She managed to keep her cool until she was alone. Closing her own bedroom door, Ginny shakily sat down on her bed. She'd been so close to crossing that line she'd set for herself before this trip. A playful Buffy was almost irresistible. If they weren't in her parents house she wasn't sure if she would have been able to stop.



A low moaning sound woke her up. Looking around in confusion, she tried to figure out where it was coming from. It was too loud to be the ghoul in the attic. It took Ginny a minute to realize it was coming from the listening charm in the door. She'd almost forgotten about them. She'd discovered them the summer before her last year at Hogwarts. The charmed spot on her bedroom door allowed her mother to listen in on her at night. Looking carefully, she'd discovered similar charmed spots in her brother's room. It had taken her the rest of the summer to figure out how to connect her door charm to the other charms, though with all of her brothers having moved away by then there hadn't seemed to be much point.

Grabbing her robe, Ginny slipped out of her room and rushed down the hall. Knocking quietly on Buffy's door, she waited a minute for an answer. When none came she entered anyway.

Buffy was lying with her back to the wall, curled up around her pillow, the blanket shoved down to the foot of the bed. Listening carefully, Ginny could hear the same sound she'd heard earlier coming from the other woman.

"Buffy?" she whispered. Cautiously leaning over she gently brushed the hair away from Buffy's face. Before she could finish pulling her hand away, Buffy rolled onto her back and opened her eyes, capturing Ginny in their anguished depths.

"Ginny?" Buffy stared up at her, obviously puzzled by her presence.

"Are you okay?" Ginny asked, sitting on the bed next to her. "You were moaning."

With obvious effort, even in the dim light, Buffy took a long, shaky breath before answering. "Just a dream."

"Do you want to talk about it?" Ginny asked.

"Not now," she murmured. "Why don't you go back to bed? It's still a couple hours until daylight."

Ginny stood up, hiding her disappointment at the answer. From the sounds, and the look on Buffy's face, it hadn't been 'just a dream'. She suspected that if Buffy wasn't willing to tell her now, that she might never say anything. "Are we still going for a run?" she asked hopefully as she reached the door.

"Wouldn't miss it," Buffy told her. Ginny could feel her eyes burning into her as she closed the door behind her.

Turning back towards her room, Ginny was startled by her mother standing there, watching her with a curious expression on her face. "Mum! Don't do that."

"Ginny?" Her mother asked quietly. "Is everything alright?"

"Just a nightmare," she whispered. She could tell from her mother's expression that she would have to explain later. Hopefully much later. She didn't have to ask how her mother had even known something was going on. Her mother was like Dumbledore, when it came to the Burrow. Even without the listening charms she knew when something was happening, even if she didn't know exactly what.



"Arthur?" Molly asked.

"Yes dear?" He asked, coming into the kitchen.

"What are they doing?"

"It must be a muggle thing," he told her, looking over her head at Ginny and Buffy out in the garden. "Ginny said they were going running this morning but this must be something else."

"Running?" Molly turned and gave him a puzzled look. "Why would they do that?"

"According to Hermione it's a favorite muggle activity," Arthur said. "Instead of a potion they exercise. She started doing it when she moved to Cleveland. She told Hermione that it gives her the energy she needs for the things she does."

"Oh! They'll be hungry then," Molly whispered, as if afraid they would hear her.

"I suspect so," he said, patting her on the shoulder before taking a seat at the table.



They sat at the top of the hill, overlooking the small village.

"This was one of my favorite places," Ginny told her. "I could sit up here and pretend."

"What kinds of things did you pretend?" Buffy asked curiously.

"That this was my kingdom," Ginny said, waving in a wide arc. "And they were my subjects. Or this was a tower and I was waiting for my knight to come rescue me."

"And did your knight ever show up?" Buffy asked, giving her a small grin.

"Not for years and years," Ginny said. Standing up she reached down for Buffy's hand. "Let's go have lunch. We still have to check out that thing for Giles."



"It seems like such a small village," Buffy told her, looking around at the quaint looking houses and shops as they walked through it, on their way back to the house. She couldn't imagine her bold, sophisticated Ginny coming from such a simple place. "Did you really grow up here?"

"Yes, but not the way you are thinking," Ginny told her. "It was a place I visited but I never really had friends here."

"Because of the magic thing?" Buffy asked, remembering her early years in Sunnydale when it had seemed impossible to have friends who weren't aware of her life as the slayer. It was just easier to not become close with anyone, even the neighbors.

"Partly. It wasn't possible to bring any friends home to play." She shrugged. "I made all of my real friends while I was away at school."

"You must have made some friends here." Buffy said, nodding her head slightly in the direction of a woman who could have been their age, though she was dressed in a rather eccentric fashion, who was peering intently at them from across the street as if she might recognize them.

"Oh," Ginny said. "That's Luna. Her family home is nearby but we never really met until Hogwarts."

"Your school?" Buffy asked.

"Yes."

"Ginny!" Luna said, approaching them. "You're visiting your parents?"

"Hi Luna." Ginny smiled at her. "Yes. Would you like to join us for lunch at the Burrow?" she asked.

"I sent it to them yesterday," Luna said, addressing Buffy after a brief nod in response to Ginny's question.

Puzzled, Ginny looked at Buffy, who shrugged, equally mystified.

"Them?"

"Your sister and her slayer friend," Luna said to Buffy.

"Where'd you run into them?" Buffy asked nervously, hoping Faith and Dawn had been behaving themselves at the time.

"The Leaky Caldron," Luna said, tilting her head slightly. "You aren't the same as her."

"Faith?" Buffy asked.

"Yes. She has a lot more darkness," Luna said, clearly puzzled.

"Definitely lunch at the Burrow," Ginny said, taking Luna by the arm and nodding at Buffy to take her other arm. "We can talk about things after."

Luna blinked owlishly at them, but allowed them to turn her towards the Burrow.



Chapter End Note: To make it clear - Padma's unnamed squib younger sister is a non-canon OC. If she appears in a future story in this series (remotely possible) she'll get a name.

The End?

You have reached the end of "The Other Girl" – so far. This story is incomplete and the last chapter was posted on 25 Dec 10.

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