"It's too bloody early for this," Draco Malfoy muttered the next morning as he, Harry, and Ron made their way to Hogsmeade, where they were supposed to meet Oliver Wood and the Weasley twins. "And now I have to deal with not one but *three* Weasels for an undetermined amount of time. What have I done to deserve this?"
"Well, you did torment the majority of the rest of the school, with me and my friends on top of the list, for the better part of five years," Harry replied mildly while Ron muttered something under his breath about not being a Weasel. Draco smirked slightly, looking a bit proud of himself.
"Well, there is that. And a good job of it I did."
"Yeah. We completely hated your guts for years. I still do," Ron put in helpfully, ignoring the rude gesture that comment earned him.
"I can't believe the professors are letting us do this," Harry commented, wanting to avoid a fight between the other two teens, one of them his best friend, the other one... Not his enemy.
"I can't believe they sent along homework for us to do. Two feet of parchment on vampires for Defense Against the Dark Arts," Draco stated with a sneer, and Harry shrugged.
"Could be worse."
"Yes. We could all die a horrible, bloody death on this little excursion," Draco replied, then snapped his mouth shut as they came to the spot where Oliver, Fred, and George were waiting for them. Unlike Oliver had the night before, Fred and George didn't look shocked by the Slytherin's presence, which Draco had to assume meant that Ron had told his older brothers about what had happened at the end of the last year. They, however, had apparently been keeping a few secrets from Ron.
"You two... What the bloody hell have you gotten into, and why haven't you told me about it?" Ron demanded to know, and his two brothers launched into an explanation, one brother's voice overlapping the other as the twins finished each other's sentences.
"Well, we were going to tell you. I wanted to, but George didn't-"
"That's a lie! Ron, we wanted to tell you, but we couldn't just yet because-"
"We were afraid you and Harry would do something bloody stupid-"
"And would you have really believed us-"
"Anyway? You probably would have thought-"
"It was just a joke," Fred and George finished together, and Draco, who had been watching the explanation like it was some sort of tennis match - though he would have been hard pressed to explain exactly what a tennis match was; he hadn't paid much attention in Muggle studies on the day that Muggle sports had been taught - turned to look at Ron.
"Are they always like this?"
Ron shrugged. "Mostly."
"Which is why they're usually sent to work on separate cases," Oliver stated mildly.
"Cases?" Harry said questioningly, and George shrugged.
"We've been helping to locate Slayers. Working for the British branch of the Watcher's Council. Helped locate three myself. One of them punched me in the face; damn near broke my jaw. Fred got in trouble for using a silencing charm on the Slayer he was working with."
"Oh, you would have done the same thing," Fred complained, and Oliver arched a brow as the other two.
"Kennedy?" he said questioningly, then smiled when Fred gave a sullen nod. "You aren't the first to wish to silence her, though I suppose you're the first to actually force her to be silent magically."
Harry sighed, looking uneasily about. It was early morning, so early that few if any of the shops in Hogsmeade were open at the moment, and no one seemed to be out and about, but he was always a bit leery of being overheard. "Shouldn't we be leaving soon?" he questioned, and Oliver nodded.
"Of course we should. Now, I went to London last night after meeting with you, and I spoke to Rupert Giles. Mr. Giles is the head of the Watcher's Council. The American branch of the Council is currently connected to the floo network, so we will be traveling in that way. Now, as always, be careful to get off in the right spot. I shall go first. We will be met there by a Miss Willow Rosenberg. She is the witch that I told you about last night - the one that activated the other Slayers - and she is also the head of the American branch of the Watcher's Council."
Fred sighed. "I bet she's all old and wrinkly. Maybe the Slayers will be pretty-"
"I wouldn't know," Wood cut in, giving the other young man a stern look. "I've never met Miss Rosenberg, or even spoken to her, but she is expecting us shortly. I've been informed that there are currently three Slayers at the headquarters in America, as well as the younger sister of one of the Slayers and another Watcher," Oliver continued, a slight smile coming to his face at the words. "More will, of course, be on the way, but they have other cases to finish up before they can join us. The first few days will be a bit of a briefing of sorts, the chance to get used to working with these young ladies."
"Girls, girls, girls," George muttered happily, earning another stern look, and Fred frowned.
"The Slayer's sister? Is it Buffy's sister Dawn?" he wanted to know, and Oliver nodded.
"I believe so, yes. From what I understand, Buffy likes to make sure that Dawn is either with her, Mr. Giles, Miss Rosenberg, or Xander."
"I like Xander," Fred declared as if anybody cared, and Draco arched a brow.
"That's all well and good, but it's barely daylight on an October morning, and I'm cold. Can we please get this over with?" the young man asked, and the others all nodded in agreement. Not even Ron, who seemed to take great pride in almost always disagreeing with the other boy, could argue that statement.
Oliver nodded. "Then let's go," he said, leading the way into the small inn that Hogsmeade had, heading over to the fireplace that was connected to the floo network. Frowning, he watched as each young man took a handful of floo powder. "Now remember to speak clearly: American Watcher's Council Headquarters," he said sternly, then stepped into the fireplace. "I'll see you there."
And then, with four clearly spoken words and a flash of green fire, Oliver Wood was on his way to America.