TITLE: Little Red & The Big Bad Woof
RATING: PG13 (possibly higher later)
SUMMARY: A sequel to When Harry Met Buffy, ignoring my alternate ending. Which I like, personally :)
DICSLAIMER: Nothing and no one in either fandom is mine. I just play with them. I own pretty much nothing except half of my nice, shiny computer (still paying it off).
NOTES: I told myself I would write no more of this, but - unfortunately - the muse bit and was difficult for me to ignore, so here’s a sequel to ‘When Harry Met Buffy’. It’s also an answer to a challenge on YGTS? (#284), wherein a Harry/Buffy pairing was required and I thought what better way to do it than to continue with this little group of loonies, especially since I had an idea anyway.
The background, for those of you who haven’t read WHMB: Harry & Buffy met in an internet chatroom, he came to visit, they ended up all loved up and now, he’s living in Sunnydale and commuting to work at Hogwarts by apparation (He lands outside the grounds and walks in for those picky people among you :-P). For those wondering about the ages: Harry was born in 1980 and Buffy in 1981, so he’s older than her. And by this point, he’s been living with them for nearly four months (and it’s Autumn 2002 aka same time as S7 but without the S7 situations, as I haven’t seen any of it).
Oh, and as you can see from the title, this isn’t going to be entirely Harry/Buffy-centric, since that pairing - pretty much - makes me want to vomit copiously. In the best way, of course. Also, I've had to adapt the challenge slightly, since Spike is dead, Anya's gone and I DESPISE Hermione/Harry stories. *innocent grin* I like adapting things :) And it will get happier, honest. I just need to set the tone.
Shaking some cereal out of the box and into the bowl in front of her, Buffy yawned, rubbing her eyes sleepily and squinting in the morning light. Sunlight was pouring into the kitchen, bright and warm in spite of the fact that it was almost December.
She had just pulled herself out of bed, after a late night of Slaying, and was eternally grateful that she had been able to reschedule most of her classes so she could go to school in the evenings, followed directly by slayage.
Closing the cereal box over with one hand, she shoved it back in the cupboard and had just started pouring milk over the crispy flakes when there was a pop and a pair of hand grabbed her by the hips.
Milk splattered all over the counter as she yelled out in surprise.
"And good morning to you too," an amused voice murmured against her throat, as she was pulled back against a familiar, lean male body.
"Harry," Buffy groaned, reaching behind her to swat at him. "How many times do I have to tell you not to sneak up on me like that?"
Harry Potter laughed. "Oh, just once a day," he replied, his hands spreading on her belly, the heat of his palms radiating through the thin fabric of her pyjamas. "And I do make that nice popping noise, just before I arrive..."
"And I make this strange breathing sound just before I stake something. I could show you, if you wanna," Buffy retorted, turning in his arms to mock-glare at him. Her small hands wound into his black work robes and gave him a firm shake. "And you’re home early. Trouble at work?"
"Not at all," he replied cheerfully. "Remus was giving the kids their practical lessons and I didn’t need to be there. He said I might as well just head home, since I wouldn’t be of any use."
"So you thought you’d ‘pop’ in and give me a heart attack?"
"You want me to make some kind of cheesy and slap-worthy pun about mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, don’t you?" Harry murmured, his eyes twinkling, as her arms slid over his shoulders.
Buffy gave him a half-smile. "I’d prefer it if you left the punning to me," she replied, pulling him down to kiss her. Breaking apart, she ran a hand through his hair. "And I kinda would have liked to have been showered and dressed before you got home, so we could go and do stuff."
"Showered and dressed..." Harry looked like he was considering something. "Well, I do need a shower myself. I have been on my feet since ten o’clock last night and I don’t want you having a smelly boyfriend..."
"You’re so generous," she retorted. "But if you go first, you better not use all the hot water this time."
Harry gave her a shocked look. "Who said anything about going first or second?" he asked, a wicked glint in his green eyes as he moved quickly and swung her over his shoulder, her shriek of surprise making him laugh.
"That’s my name," he replied with a laugh, gripping tighter as she started squirming, knocking the bowl of cereal and the milk onto the floor.
"I could so hurt you for this," she mumbled against his back, wrapping her arms around his torso to make sure she didn’t get dropped, as he wandered out into the hall and towards the stairs.
"I know," Harry replied amiably, one hand tracing up and down her thigh. Buffy shivered at the contact, wishing that it was his hand against her bare skin. "But you won’t... er... will you?"
Clutching onto him tighter, as he jogged up the stairs, her world upside down, Buffy turned her head to avoid a mouthful of Hogwarts robes. "I haven’t decided yet," she answered, almost falling over with relief when he bent and placed her back on her feet outside the bathroom door. "You’ll have to make it up to me."
"Make what up?" Harry asked with mock-innocence, as they entered the bathroom and his robes were stripped off and tossed in a heap on the floor. Underneath them, he wore a T-shirt and jeans.
Leaning over the bath to turn the shower on, Buffy shot a mischievous look over her shoulder at him. "Oh, you know exactly what, Mister I’m-so-innocent-because-I’m-the-Saviour-of-the-World," she retorted with a grin.
Harry pulled a face at her, pushing his shoes off and adding them to the pile on the floor. "Just because you know how your mind works, don’t expect me to, Miss I’m-so-superior-because-I-saved-the-world-more-times-than-you."
Buffy chuckled, testing the water with her hand, as it heated up. "You’re so weird."
"And you’re one to talk?" a voice said softly in her ear, as she straightened up, one of Harry’s muscled forearms sliding around her waist and drawing her back against his bare chest.
Her head tilting to one side, she shivered as he hotly kissed her throat. "I guess," she replied a little breathlessly, as his hand slid up, under the vest she was wearing and lazily caressed her body.
Another hand expertly negotiated her pyjamas bottoms off and Harry turned her around to face him, their lips meeting in a heated kiss, as both of them struggled to get her top off as quickly as they both wanted to.
"You mentioned something about a shower," Harry whispered against her lips.
Raising her hands, Buffy plucked her lover’s glasses off, folding them and carelessly tossing them onto the pile of clothes that had accumulated on the floor. "Something like that," she replied.
Their mouths meeting again, hands moving on one another’s bodies, they managed to stumble their way into the shower, the hot water streaming over both of them as Harry pressed Buffy up against the steam-misted tiles.
"Have I told you that I love you recently?"
Her fingers biting into Harry’s water-slicked back as he kissed lazily his way down her throat, Buffy released a moan. "Not since yesterday," she whispered, lifting her body against his.
"Well, I do..." he chuckled as she grabbed a handful of his black hair and pulled his mouth back to hers. One of his hand caught her thigh, pulling her slick body against his as their bodies came together.
Hazel eyes met green. "Love you too," she replied, before claiming his mouth again.
"Whatcha workin’ on?"
Looking up from the scrolls he was marking, Harry shrugged. "God only knows," he replied. "It’s meant to be an essay about werewolves, but for some reason that I don’t quite understand, this one isn’t..."
Dropping her school books on the end of the table, Dawn plunked herself down in the seat opposite Harry. She had just returned from school and Buffy had just departed with Xander to go and pick up some food from one of the fast-food restaurants.
It had become a tradition for their little family that every Wednesday, they would have a different variant of takeaway food, gradually working their way around the different eateries of Sunnydale.
For their eleven weeks so far, only one place had involved fighting some kind of demon, which had surprised the Slayer, especially considering the quality of some of the food they got. Evil didn’t even come close to touching it apparently.
Normally, Harry and Xander would do the pick-up, but Remus had kindly loaded Harry down with a pile of marking that was due to be returned the following week. It was currently spread over one end of the table and Harry was staring mournfully at it.
"What’s it about then? Vampires? Something else that’s really oogy?" she asked, grinning as Harry let his head fall forward and hit the table with a resounding thump.
"Coconut migration," he replied, his head still resting on the table. "Six foot four inches of scroll on coconut migration..."
"In a Defence Against the Dark Arts werewolves essay...?"
"Hence the confusion," he said, lifting his head a little so his chin was resting on the heap of essays. "The best reason I can come up with is that the writer didn’t have a clue about werewolves..." he picked up the paper from under his chin and raised it in front of his eyes. "I’m going to have to ask Remus about this Ophelia Butt."
Dawn choked back a laugh.
"What about her?" he asked, as he sat up.
Dawn rolled her eyes. "Duh! Say it out loud!"
"Ophelia Bu...Oh God..." Harry groaned, slapping a hand against his forehead and closing his eyes. "I’m going to kill Remus!"
Trying not to laugh out loud, Dawn pointed at him. "You are such a dork!" she said, her eyes dancing with laughter. "And you gotta say that when Remus plays a prank, he really plays it good! Six foot on coconut migration..."
"And it makes sense," Harry reluctantly admitted.
"I'll say it again - you're the biggest dork, like, ever!"
Laying down the scrolls in his hands, Harry gave her a look. "Didn’t anyone ever tell you to respect your elders?" he sniffed. "I remember in the old days, when all young people used to do exactly what they were told..."
"And you were living in which world?"
"Oh shut up!"
Dawn beamed at him. "Why? It’s fun to see you get all flustered and twitchy."
"I don’t get flustered and twitchy!"
Harry cleared his throat. "All right, maybe I do get a little flustered and twitchy, but that’s not the point!"
"What’s the funny?" Harry and Dawn both looked towards the front door, were Buffy had just entered with a large brown paper bag in each hand, followed by Xander carrying two bottles.
"Remus has just been setting me up, again," Harry replied, getting to his feet and clearing all the papers off the table to allow Buffy space to deposit food. "Dawn, can you get the plates?"
"And your last slave died of...?"
Green eyes looked at her. "Do you want to make me pout, Dawnie?"
"All right, already!" On her feet, the teen hurried through to the kitchen, as Harry helped Buffy to unpack the boxes of food from one of the last Chinese restaurants in town. Her voice drifted through from the kitchen. "Special, regular or big?"
"I’d say big," Xander called back. "There’s a lotta food to go round."
"Yeah, and you really helped with the carrying," Buffy laughed.
Xander held up the two large bottles that he was carrying. "Hey, I’m soda guy! You chose the food, so you get to carry it and I chose the soda so I get to carry it and I did the driving!"
"You let her choose the food?" Harry groaned, shaking his head. "Xander, after the fiasco at the Arby’s, I thought you’d learned your lesson..."
"She threatened to pound me!"
"Xander!" Buffy cried out indignantly. "I did no such thing!"
Approaching the table, Xander leaned closer to Harry and muttered, "Well, she didn’t exactly say anything about pummelling but she had that look in her eyes... you don’t argue with the look..."
While, initially, Xander had been deeply suspicious of the Englishman, they had ended up as friends. It had happened after Harry insisted that they go out one night, just the two of them, so they could get to know each other.
Buffy had grimaced and said warned Xander that he wasn’t allowed to do any pummelling, while she told Harry he was being too sweet, which served the dual purpose of making her lover blush and her sister heave in the corner.
However, Harry had explained that they needed to do the bloke-thing, so Xander could get to know him, decide whether to keep hating him or not and have a genuine reason for hating him, if need be.
For the first time since his school friend, Jesse, had died, Xander actually got on with a guy enough to like him and he and Harry had bonded. Harry, for his part, found that Xander reminded him a great deal of Ron.
The friendship that had developed had definitely made living in the same house a great deal easier, although it also had a downside for one particular resident of the Summers house.
They had made it their joint life’s pursuit to wind Buffy up as much as possible.
"Buffy!" Harry exclaimed, looking scandalised. "You used the look!"
"She did," Xander heaved a pitiful sigh. "And all I wanted to do was choose the food for once!"
"Very funny," Buffy said, opening several of the boxes, succulent steam rising from them and filling the room with the smell of food. "I said you could choose the food, but you were taking so long that I woulda starved to death before you picked it!"
"Don’t worry," Harry clapped Xander on the shoulder, as he eased passed to collect glasses from the cabinet against the wall. "I know exactly what you’re talking about... not that I mind being glared at in any way, of course, dear," he finished the sentence, directed at the mock-glowering Buffy.
"Sure," she retorted, unable to hide a grin. "Willow isn’t back yet, huh?"
"She phoned a while ago to say that she was going to go to the library before she came back," Harry answered, as Dawn returned from the kitchen, carrying a heap of plates and he returned to sit at the table. "She should be home any moment."
"Woke you up, huh?"
Harry pulled a face, doling out the glasses to the places at the tables. "It would be nice if you remember that I actually do work night shift! I’d only been asleep a couple of hours!"
"Ahem?" Buffy cleared her throat.
"Um... all right, maybe three hours..."
"You were asleep by the time I left to go to the store! And that was at ten!" his lover exclaimed, laughing as she sat down beside him. One hand under the table squeezed his knee. "I’d make that at least five..."
"Well, I suppose..."
"You suppose I’m right?" Buffy chuckled, resting her head on his shoulder. "You can try and make all the excuses you like, Harry, but you’re not gonna outdo me any time soon."
Harry heaved a dramatic sigh. "Is it my fault," he queried. "That you keep track of me for every minute of every day?"
"I so do not!"
"Okay. A challenge? What was I doing at eight thirty this morning? Give me the details of the where, what and why."
Buffy went scarlet in the face, staring pointedly down at the table as she reached over and grabbed a spoon. "That’s unfair," she mumbled, while Harry burst out laughing beside her.
"Not again," Xander groaned, sitting down at the head of the table and reaching for a plate. "Please tell me you made it to the bedroom this time..."
Buffy - if possible - went even redder and Harry’s grin widened. "Not exactly," the Slayer replied, shifting awkwardly in her seat.
"Ew! You guys!" Dawn pulled a face at them, while helping herself to rice from one of the boxes. "You know I’m gonna need therapy for this, right? I mean, you... and you... like bunnies!"
"I like to think I’m doing my bit to keep my lovely Buffy in shape," Harry said cheerfully, his eyes dancing with mirth when Buffy smacked him hard on the leg. The grin wavered a little. "Um... ow?"
"You think that’s ow?" Buffy challenged, giving him a look. "I could show you ow!"
"Let me guess," Willow’s voice cut in from the front door, where she was depositing her shoes and satchel. "Harry’s boasting, Buffy’s blushing and the rest of us are trying to pretend we’re not hearing the conversation?"
"Pretty much, Wills," Xander answered, motioning her into the room. "Good day?"
The red head made a noncommittal gesture. "Could have been worse," she replied, taking the seat next to Dawn. "Finally found out where that weird, oogy spiny demon came from..."
"The green one or the grey, mucusy one?" Buffy inquired, jabbing Harry on the back of one hand with her fork when he tried to steal her spring rolls.
"Mucus one," Willow replied. "There was something about a ritual, not like that’s a way big surprise, and some spells."
Willow’s brows rose expressively. "End the world. The usual."
"Great," Buffy enthused. "And we stop it how?"
"You already did."
"I did? Yay me!" Buffy beamed, then frowned. "I did? How?"
Willow laughed. "You killed him and all his little bumpy minions," she answered with a smile. The Slayer looked blank, frowning in thought. "You know... West Side’s second cemetery, flame-thrower, fire crackers... overcooked demon?"
"Oh! Right! I forgot!"
"Well, you have killed quite a lot of demons," Harry remarked, one arm around his lover’s shoulder. He pressed a kiss to her temple. "You can’t be expected to remember all of them... or maybe that bump on the head did affect your memory..."
"What bump on the head?"
"That’s my point."
"Harry!" Buffy slapped him on the thigh again. "Stop it!"
"You guys," Willow announced, spooning some chicken onto her plate. "Are nuts."
"And it’s taken you four months of living with him and six years of knowing me to figure that out?"
Willow rolled her eyes. "I thought you were crazy on your own, Buff, but he’s just made you way worse with the puns and the bad jokes and the big smiles all the time, even when you’re PMS-y."
The couple exchanged looks. "What can I say?" Buffy replied, reaching up to muss Harry’s unruly hair. "I’ve actually finally found a guy who makes me happy without all the blood and death that everyone else brought with ‘em. Even Xander likes him for once."
"Like? Me? Him?" Xander interrupted, waving a fork in Buffy’s direction. "I think you’ve taken my words out of context."
"What? ‘Yeah, I kinda like him’?"
Xander shook his head. "I didn’t say that," he said slowly, as if everyone listening was very stupid. "I said that he was okay."
"Good enough for me!" Buffy laughed, then planted a kiss on Harry’s nose. "And he likes you."
"It’s more a case of ‘I don’t want to kill him’ actually," Harry corrected.
"You guys are just as bad as each other," Willow noted, reaching for a bottle of soda.
"We try," Xander agreed, grinning.
"And succeed admirably," Harry added, raising an empty glass in salute.
"And are big dorks," Dawn added around a mouthful of sweet and sour pork.
Harry and Xander tried to look shocked at the accusation, rounding their eyes at her in mock-innocence. "I think she’s onto us," Harry said in a stage whisper.
"We’ll have to get rid of her! No one else can find out!"
Looking around furtively, which looked very odd in the brightly lit and cheerful atmosphere of the dining area, Harry nodded. "All right... meet me at midnight, in the alley and wear a pink carnation."
Dawn was giggling hysterically over her plate, but was futilely trying to look like she had a straight face. Buffy was biting on her lower lip, glancing along at Willow, who was shaking her head.
"Would it be so hard to have a normal family meal, just once?" the red head raised her eyes to the ceiling in supplication. "Just once!"
"If the ceiling actually replies to you, can you ask it if I can have a million quid, as well?" Harry said.
"And a new car," Xander added.
Willow gave them a prim look. "If the ceiling replies to me," she said. "I will go and check myself into the nearest asylum."
Evening melted into night.
Buffy headed out to her night classes, which took up most of her evenings until joint patrol with Harry. Meanwhile Harry took some more time to mark his papers, still trying to come up with some way to get revenge on one of his uncles.
In the living room, comfortably full from dinner, Xander was watching television and relaxing after a day of hard work and Dawn was kneeling on the floor in front of the couch, finishing homework on the coffee table.
However, one person wasn’t enjoying the convivial atmosphere that the house held.
In the room that had once been Buffy’s, which had been turned into hers when she had returned from Britain, Willow Rosenberg was sitting cross-legged on the patch-work cover of the bed, gazing sadly down at a framed photograph, a blue shirt lying in her lap.
It was exactly six months since her girlfriend’s death, shot only hours after they had had their reconciliation. Yes, they had parted briefly because of Willow’s abuse of magic, but they had gotten back together, spending hours wrapped up in one another.
And then, Tara, sweet, gentle, lovely Tara, had been callously shot, hit by a stray bullet from the weapon meant to kill Buffy.
Tracing the outline of Tara’s features through the glass of the picture frame, Willow felt tears burning in her eyes. While she had finally managed to adjust to the absence of her lover, it still hurt more than she could bear.
While they didn’t realise that it was affecting her - and while she was happy for them to have found someone - Willow couldn’t help feeling an ache in her heart when she watched Harry and Buffy laughing and cuddling up with one another.
It was times like this, that she wished that she had been successful in her attempt to end the world.
Yes, Xander had called her back with love, providing her with a fraction of what Tara had given her, but even he couldn’t understand the pain of knowing that a loved one was dead, gone and never coming back.
All his past lovers were still alive.
He couldn’t understand.
Even Buffy, who had sent a lover to Hell, couldn’t understand. He had come back to her, even in spite of Hell, but nothing, not Heaven, not Hell, not anything in between could or would bring Tara back.
Turning onto her side, Willow hugged the photograph against her chest. Pulling the shirt up from her lap, she buried her face in the fabric, the scent of Tara still lingering there, faint but tangible.
As night drew in, darkening and sombre, Willow Rosenberg cried herself to sleep with the memory of the lover she had lost.