For Spring - unbeta'd as it is
disclaimers....all standard apply, Joss, JK...the great asparagus gods, et al.
Willow, Xander and Anya were all waiting at the platform the next morning. Willow was in the middle of a great big yawn when she heard her name being called.
“Willow!” Harry cried joyously when he recognized her in her pounds of muggle winter wear.
Willow smiled and started walking toward Harry her green eyes twinkling, “Hey ya cuz,” another yawn escaped, “How long is this train ride anyway?” She wrapped him up in a big hug and as soon as she was done, Xander and Anya hugged him as well. Then she found her arms filled with, “Dawn.” She kissed the brunette on the cheek, “Hi sweetie, how did your exams go?”
Dawn just stared at her then her grin split her face and she jumped up and down as she screamed, “I got the top grade in DADA and Potions.” Then she collected herself, still grinning she moved into a Xander hug. “Hi Xander.” She breathed in his familiar presence and relaxed into his arms. “Are you guys riding home with us?” Her hazel eyes twinkling.
Anya smiled and kissed Dawns cheek, “Yes, Willow arranged it with the Headmaster. It’s very strange he seems to be very fond of her, despite her tendency to stick her foot in her mouth when she is speaking to him.” Anyas wide smile and honest eyes belied the harshness of the words, as she looked out over their family.
Dawn chuckled from Xanders chest and sighed as she pulled away, “So is Giles coming home for the Holiday celebration?”
Xander laughed as he squeezed Dawn to him again and said, “Giles demanded that he be left in charge of the Christmas decorations other wise he’d be here as well. He’s forbidden Wills from going into the library and he sent her here a couple days ago with strict instructions for us to keep her until she returned with all of us. He said he’d be meeting us in London at the station.” His voice amused.
Willow stuck her tongue out at him then pulled Harry and Ginny onto the train with her. She’d been watching all the other students stare at them, “Come on we can discuss this as easily on the train as on the platform.” She pulled Harry and Ginny onto the train with her. She looked around, “We’re gonna need at least two compartments.” She frowned.
Ginny smiled, “I know just the one, if we’re quick we can stake our claim on it.” She pulled the older redhead through the compartments, moving quickly. She rapidly disappeared from Willow’s sight.
Willow chuckled and kept going in the direction that Ginny had disappeared. When she finally found the younger red head she smiled. Ginny had planted herself in front of the doors to another car. She had her wand out and a determined glint in her eye. “This car is reserved for Hogwarts guests.” She said darkly.
“Gin!” Ron called as he saw, five Slytherine seventh years confronting his sister and his sister as usual being a mule about something.
“Hey Ginny,” Willow said easily, “I take it this is the ‘guests’ car.” Her voice clear with authority. “Thanks for showing us where it is. Would you and your brothers like to join us, we’re having a bit of a celebration today. Dawns first term and all.” Her smile wide as her green eyes glinted with power. She glanced at Dawn, “Did you want to invite any of your housemates?”
Dawn made her way forward to stand next to Willow and said, “there’s a couple people who I’d like to invite.” Her tone frosty as she considered her House-mates. They had nothing to do with her and she wanted to keep it that way.
“Ok, we’ll see you soon right?” Willow smiled as she moved past the seventh years and opened the door to the ‘guests’ car. She watched as Xander and Anya entered the car first, then followed by Harry, Hermione, Ron and finally Ginny; who was still glaring at the Slytherine seventh years as she brought up the rear. Willow smiled, then called out, “Dawn, tell the twins where we are if you see them.” Then she smiled at the seventh years and closed the door behind her.
“Damn Wills, this is right ‘outta some glam movie of the 30’s or 40’s.” Xander smirked as he looked over the plush velvet chairs, the chestnut wainscoating on the walls and the period chandeliers. “I’m liking this whole train thing.” He grinned as he sat next to Anya on a loveseat.
Harry and the others looked around in awe, the entire car was theirs to ride back to London in. They really could have a party if they wanted.
Willow winked at Harry, then she closed her eyes and the car filled with muggle party decorations and party favors. With a large loud banner that said, ‘Merry Christmas!’
Xander grinned as he looked out over all the sugary goodness he hadn’t had since they left the states, “Willow!” He yelled, “You are the best!” Then he stood suddenly and moved to a table across the aisle from his and Anya’s loveseat.
Even Hermione smiled as she took in all the food that would give her parents nightmares and picked out an array of Cadbury treats and settled herself down with a diet coke and waited for the rest of her friends to grab a snack.
By the time Dawn returned, the compartment was much fuller than it had been when she left. She smiled as she saw the banner, a Christmas party on the train ride home; how cool was that. She grinned down at ‘Lizbeth and said, “Just like a Christmas party at home huh.”
‘Lizbeth smiled at her friend Dawn and nodded at the familiar sights and smells, she hugged Dawn then disappeared into half filled compartment.
The party on the train continued until they reached the platform. As each one of the revelers dis-embarked, they found a surprise little gift in their plain cloths.
Spike watched his grandsire with a smirk, the gelled wonder had shown up last night and Giles had been gone from the house. So he’d had to return this evening to find Giles busy with settling the holiday decorations and was un-interested in speaking to him of important matters. To make the great poof’s temperament even worse, Spike had waltzed into the house to find Rupes and he’d had to wait outside until Spike convinced Giles to invite him into the house.
The two vampires were currently waiting in Willows library, as that had already been decorated. Spike kept himself by the fire-place, it was the only place that Red let him smoke in the house; not that he’d tell the poof that. He smirked at his grandsire as he flicked the fag into the fire, just as the front door opened.
“SPIKE!” Dawn yelled from the foyer.
Spike grinned at his grandsire and started walking out of the room, “Red’s book room Bit.” He called out as he walked out the library door.
Dawn raced through the house and jumped up into his arms, catching him too her.
Spike chuckled, “Missed you too Bit. How was your first term at Hogwarts?”
Dawn grinned, “Top of my classes thank you very much. You here for the entire break?”
Spike indicated behind him, “Peaches, is here.” Spike smirked, “heard some rumor that you were clan, no idea where he got that bit of news.” His grin wicked.
Dawn rolled her eyes and indicated that she wanted set down, “No idea huh? Sure Spike, I believe you,” then she paused, “can I be there when you tells Wills?”
Spike stilled, just for a moment; then shrugged.
“Hey Spike.” Harry said as he came further into the house, his trunk floating up the stairs and into his room. He stopped mid-step as he noticed the dark haired vampire lurking in the door way. “We have company?” He asked a little put out, “I thought it was a family Christmas?”
Angelus growled at the boy.
Dawn grinned as she looked at Angel from Spike’s side, “Hi Angel.” She said in a chipper voice.
Angelus tried to growl at the girl as well, but the soul replied, “Hello Dawn, I take it your studies are to your satisfaction?”
Dawns smile was wide, “love magic school, it’s amazing.” Then she glanced at Spike and said, “So we covered Vampires with the ministry woman, guess how I’m supposed to keep from being drained?”
Spike stared at her and said, “’Bit, what kind of challenge is that?”
“Trust me, guess.” She replied.
“Stake, cross, holy water, decapitation, sun-light, fire, am I close?” He replied with a smirk.
“Nope, those are all archaic systems of defense according to the Ministry of Magic,” she paused, “I’m supposed to call for an auror, yep send out a magic pulse…when I’m old enough, ‘cause we,” she pointed to Harry and herself, “are under age and aren’t allowed to do magic, or we’ll be expelled.”
Spike exploded, “Bloody Hell! What the bollocks are they teaching you at that school, send for help, what kind of none-sense is that.” He vamped at the thought of some other vampire having his bit and yelled, “RED! I thought you said that this school would teach the Bit how to protect herself?” He pulled Dawn with him as he hunted the red head down.
She was standing in their great-room staring at the decorations, with her mouth hanging open.
“RED!” Spike bellowed.
“WITCH!” he yelled again.
He vamped and grabbed her shoulder, to find himself flat on his back with a very irritated grandsire above him, growling deeply.
Spike stared at his grandsire and smirked, “Sire,” he whined.
Angel responded with a deeper, more guttural warning.
“Then you ask her.” He pouted, as he stretched out on the ground.
Dawns eyes were wide as she watched the two vampires.
Harry just stared from the door way.
“What’s the prob…” Xanders voice trailed off as he moved silently to stand next to Willow. He tucked his hand into hers and together they just stared at the room.
Anya came into the room next speaking, “Xander,” her tone stern, “I thought,” then she caught sight of Angel and said, “Angelus what are you doing here?”
Angel ignored the blond and made his way to the red head, growling as he caught sight of her and Xanders joined hands.
“Stuff it, Deadboy.” Xander said, “We are having a moment.”
Willow held out her hand for Angel.
Angelus settled, a bit, at the contact with the witch.
The three of them stood there for a few more minutes until Willow said, “Ok, Giles did good – I guess I have to exchange the coal.”
Dawn and Harry chuckled.
“Such praise,” Giles added wryly from the door way.
Willow turned and smiled at the older man as she released both Xander and Angels hands and walked toward him, giving him a big hug. “It’s perfect.” She said as she kissed his cheek.
“Thank you my dear.” He replied as he tucked, a strand of hair behind her ear. “So we have guests?”
“Really?” Willow squealed and bounced on her toes. “Where are they? Are they sleeping? Have you hidden them? You do mean more than Angel right?”
Angelus growled at the witch.
Willow rolled her eyes at Giles and mouthed, ‘Vampires.’
“I heard that witch.” Spike said with a grin.
“No you didn’t, ‘cause I didn’t say anything Vampire.” Willow retorted. Then she stared at Giles, “Well?” Her tone expectant.
Angel pouted behind her, emitting an irritated growl the entire time.
Willow grinned at Giles then turned suddenly and smiled as she said, “Hello Angel.” Her green eyes staring deeply into gold tinged brown eyes. Then she hugged him and the growling turned into an audible purr. When she let him go, she said, “All better?”
Angel frowned at her and said, “Is Dawn part of Aurelis?”
Willow arched a red brow at Spike and said, “Where you bragging at the Masters compendium again?”
Spike looking innocent said, “I made a vow, in blood pet, you know that – it was part of our agreement, wasn’t it.”
Willow rolled her eyes at the bleach blond.
“Blood?” Angel asked quietly.
Spike, making sure he was out of response range answered, “Red and I came to an agreement, she’d take out the chip, if, in return she and the Bit were made Clan.” His voice, tinged with no emotion, “sealed with a bit of the witches blood, wasn’t it pet?”
Angel vamped, his golden eyes staring into green pools, “He tasted you?” He lisped. His hands wrapping around her arms as he pulled the witch toward him in anger and frustration. “You made an ‘agreement’ with my childe, instead of me? You are mine!” He growled.
Willow glared at Spike and said, “demon or not, you’re an ass.” Then she inked out, as she forced him to release her arms, “yours?” She snarled, “by what claim? Blood? Sex? Agreement? How am I yours, Angelus?”
Angel’s soul let the demon come fully to the front as he circled the witch, “Mine by soul bond,” the demon replied, “mine by trial of fire,” his voice a seductive purr, “and mine by consent.” He faced the red headed witch and said, “or am I mistaken?” Then he brought her hand to his lips and tasted her blood for the first time.
“Damn it!” Xander cried, “Angelus is in this house!” He yelled.
“It’s ok Xan,” Willow said softly as she watched the vampire feed from her wrist. “It’s not just Angelus.”
“Not just Angelus, isn’t Angelus enough?” He growled at her.
“No,” Willow sighed, “No he isn’t, is he Angel?”
Angels human façade replaced his demon visage as he purred over her wrist for a moment. Then his brown eyes reflected hurt for a moment, then nothing. “No, he wouldn’t have been enough to make you and Dawn fully clan; only the oldest member of the Clan can truly accept humans into Clan.” He let her wrist drop and turned away from her.
She deflated, then she advanced on Spike, “You, you git!” she poked a finger into his chest, “You just couldn’t let me talk to him could you, you just had to be an ass and stir up trouble, like WE need MORE trouble!” She growled at him. “You just had to do this the most humiliating way possible didn’t you!” Her pokes backing the master vampire almost into the fire.
“Now Red,” he said trying to placate her.
“No, no now Reds from you, I am very upset with you and you’ll be lucky to get far enough on my good side by Christmas to even get your presents.” She turned around and walked back to her family.
“Witch,” he said with a growl, “how was this humiliating for you?”
“You, you,” she sputtered, as she turned around “stupid vampire, I never said it was humiliating for me! Goddess!” her own growl audible.
Willow smirked back, and in a flash Spike was a bleach white rat. She scooped him up and handed him to Dawn, “he’ll need to eat in couple of hours, he still has the same ‘sun’ issues.”
Then with her own smirk firmly in place she asked, “Harry how do you make those moving pictures?”
Harry’s wide green eyes stared at his cousin.
Xander laughed, a deep guffaw reverberated around the house, drawing their company into the main room.
“Damn Zeppo, what’s so funny?” Faith asked with her drawling smirk.
Xander grinned, “Spike,” he pointed, “vampire rat!”
Connor looked at the white-blond rat and moved toward it, “Can I stake it?”
Dawn glared at the boy and held the rat protectively, “No you may not.” Her eyes flashing.
“Cheer up destructo, you can come on patrol with me later tonight.” Faith replied with a grin.
Connor stood a little taller.
Then she looked at Willow, “Bleach do something to piss you off Red?”
Willow sighed, “obviously.”
Faith chuckled, then she looked around, “Hey Fang, how’s it going?”
Angel stared at the red head, then looked at Faith, “Better now.” He almost smiled.
“Cool, so why we here Watch?” She asked Giles from a bit of a distance away from him.
Rupert Giles sighed then said, “I thought it would be an auspicious beginning to your re-instatment as an active slayer; for you to be with friends this holiday.”
Faith looked around and said softly, “Aside from Fang, I don’t,” she didn’t get a chance to finish.
Xander faced off with the dark haired slayer, “No you don’t,” then his eyes softened, “We need you, so maybe this time you could.”
Faith’s mouth snapped closed and the emotions that had been in her eyes were shuttered over. “So I’m your tool now?”
“You could say that.” Xander smirked, as he stood next to Anya.
“Ugh!” Willow moaned. “Must all the men in my life be testosterone poisoned idiots?” She muttered to herself, loud enough for the room to hear her of course.
“Then why am I here?” Faith said, coldly to the red head.
“Faith,” Giles started.
“No watch,” Faith interrupted, “why am I here? I want Red to tell me to my face.”
Willow looked into Faiths brown eyes and her own flecked with black, “you want to know why Little-Miss-Reform-School? Because Buffy died, to keep Dawnie and the rest of us alive, because Moldywarts wants to kill my cousin Harry, because I can see into your fucking soul and you need ‘something’ a way to test yourself, to prove yourself to the rest of us that you really have changed your spots, and I’m opportunistic enough to give you that test.”
“Tell me.” Faith whispered.
“Keep Dawnie and Harry alive, at all costs, I don’t care who you have to kill or what you have to do; to make sure that happens. Is that clear enough?” Willow said coldly.
Faith nodded, “Yes.”
“Willow.” Giles said.
Faith shook her head, and stared at Giles, “No,” the Slayers voice soft and emotion filled, “I wanted to know.”
Giles said, “I must object, you are the Slayer and as much as I love Dawn and Harry, you are more than a body guard.”
Faiths head snapped up as she addressed Giles, “She’s right, I need this.” Then she looked at Willow, “tell me.”
Willow sighed, “What is wrong with you people, it’s the friggin’ holidays, peace on earth, good will toward men, food, presents, alcohol, why do we have to do this now?”
Faith stared at the red head, “Do what?”
“ARGH!” Willow yelled, “firstly, Angelus runs around with his demon hanging out, Spike takes advantage of that, Xander starts all,” she waved her arms around, “Now Giles is upset with me, because I’m diverting the Slayer from her ‘divine’ duty.” She took a deep breath, “Goddess, all I’m missing is Professor Cranky and a visit from social services; to make this night complete.”
Anya smiled slightly as she heard the door-bell, “I’ll get that.”
“Who ever it is, I’m not home.” Willow said, as she collapsed onto the couch and threw her arm over her eyes.
“Willow,” Anya said as she returned to the room, “it’s not for you it’s for Dawn.”
Dawn looking confused handed Spike to Harry and said, “Don’t loose him.”
“Dawnie!” Cried ‘Lizabeth as she ran to the older girl, “Dawnie, help!”
Dawn knelt down and wrapped her arms around the younger girl, “What’s wrong ‘Lizzy?”
Another woman followed the young girl into the room, “I’m so sorry to intrude, but I didn’t, well that is Elizabeth said you might be able to help.”
“Mrs?” Giles asked easily.
“Oh, Ms. Ms. Alani Krum,” The blond replied with a smile, “I’m a single parent.”
“Oh,” Giles responded, “I’m Rupert Giles,” he took her hand and led her further into the room, “this is Willow Rosenberg, Faith, Xander and Anya Harris, Angel O’Connor, Connor O’Connor,”
Alani arched a brow.
“yes, ah, well,” Giles stuttered.
Dawn rolled her eyes, “I’m Dawn Summers-Rosenberg, and this is our Cousin Harry Potter.”
Alani Krum smiled at the girl and said, “Yes, ‘Lizbeth has spoken of you often.”
Dawn smiled and said, “You telling tales about me to your mom?”
Lizabeth smiled and nodded.
“That’s so cool.” Then she said, “hey, what’s going on?”
Lizabeths big blue eyes filled with tears, “he’s gone,” she sniffed.
“Who is gone?” Giles asked.
“Daddy,” Lizabeth said as she held on to Dawn.
Everyone looked to Alani who blushed, such a deep red that Faith grinned as she said, “She related to you Red?”
Willow moaned and tried to cover her own face with her hands as she flushed.
“Are you any relation to Victor?” Harry asked quietly.
“He’s my cousin,” Lizabeth said from around Dawn. Then her eyes opened wide, as she looked at her mother, “Oh no! Granmere!”
Alani paled, then asked, “Do you have floo powder by chance, I need to make a call?”
“Sure,” Xander replied with a grin, “it’s by the fire-place in Wills book-room.”
“Library,” Willow said, “It’s called a Library.”
“Sure Wills.” Xander replied, with a grin. He led the other woman out of the room and down the hall.
“Lizzy?” Dawn said.
“Daddy’s a vampire,” she said softly, still wrapped around Dawn. “I remembered your hellmouth stories about them, how they need an invitation to enter their own houses, and how you never verbally invited anyone into your house, even here in London. I remembered hearing you tell Harry and the others that the best thing to do, if you don’t know how to dust a vampire is to get away, to get safe. So that’s what I did. Did I do good?”
Dawn smiled down at the little first year and smiled, “You did great, you’ll be safe here.” Then she looked at Faith and smiled, “Do you remember me telling you about vampire Slayers?”
“Faith is a slayer, so she’ll be able to help keep you and your mother safe, ok?”
Lizabeth looked at Faith and smiled, then she let go of Dawn suddenly and ran and hugged Faith, whispering, “thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Faith’s heart melted, “You got it blue-eyes.” She replied with a smile.
They had settled down onto the couches and were talking with each other when they heard a scream from Willows library and the door bell rang.
“Faith, Harry, Dawn and Lizbeth, you stay here.” Willow commanded. “Angel, Connor go help Xander, Giles and Anya get the door, I’ll be in the hall between the two.” The doors to the great-room locked themselves after the ‘adults’ left.
Harry pounded on the doors, “Blast it Willow!”
Dawn rolled her eyes, “Geez, Harry you think your throwing a fit is going to get you out of this room?”
Lizabeth’s eyes were wide.
Dawn pulled the girl over to her, “come sit next to me, we’ll watch Harry make an ass out of himself.”
Harry frowned at Dawn.
“Hey, don’t look at me like that, it’s true; Wills is all worked up tonight, too much emotional stuff. So we have like zero chances of being allowed to help out until she’s made her peace with everyone.” She glanced at Harry hand. “Boy she is pissed off at Spike about Angel, she didn’t even change him back.”
Harry chuckled, then sat next to Dawn, “How upset do you think he’ll be with us when we present Angel with a wizarding picture of him as a rat?”
Dawn snorted, then her eyes twinkled, “That is too cruel, lets get one of him hunting a mouse or something too.”
Harry laughed and Faith snorted her amusement, even as she twirled a knife in her hand.
A few minutes later the door opened, and three hooded people as well as Xander, Anya and Alani came into the room.
“Faith, Wills would like to have a word with you.” Xander said softly.
Faith smirked and dove out the door.
Xander closed it and it locked its-self behind him. “Ok you three, you can set your cloaks over by the fire place and warm up. It’s cold enough to freeze your nuts off out there tonight.”
Dawn rolled her eyes at her friend.
“Momma?” Lizabeth said quietly.
Alani Krum held open her arms to her daughter and wrapped her little girl up in her embrace, glad that she was safe in this strange house; with these people that felt like ‘home.’
“Victor?” Harry asked, “What are you doing here?”
“I vas,” he paused and looked a little grey.
“Oh crap!” Dawn said, “sit, were you bitten?”
He shook his head. “No, I did as ve vere taught and used fire spell – useful.” He said simply.
“Family?” Dawn asked.
“DAMN!” she swore, then she opened Giles’ secret stash and handed him a glass. “here, it doesn’t help much, but it warms you up.”
“Dawnie!” Xander called out, “you’d better pour a couple more of those, Ahn needs one as well.”
Dawn passed out Giles good scotch with a smile, to the two girls who were with them, “Hi I’m Dawn.”
The older one smiled, “Geneva and this is our little sister, Malani.”
Dawn smiled at the girl and said, “I wish we had some hot chocolate, this stuff is vile.”
Xander stood and bowed, “your wish used to be Anya’s command, but I will make you hot chocolate.”
“Really!” Dawn squealed, then tried to sound cool, “that would be good.”
Harry chuckled, he asked Viktor, “you play wizards chess?”
Viktor sighed and nodded, “zat would be,” he paused, “velcome.”
Harry led him over to his chess set, that once Ron saw it would make his red haired friend green with envy.
Xander pulled Willows hot chocolate service out of a hiding place and Dawn pulled the girls closer to the dark haired man. “Sneaky.” She said with a grin.
Xander winked at her and said, “Three cups of hot chocolate on their way.”
“Hot chocolate, with the little marshmallows?” Lizbeth asked from the couch.
Xander smiled, “Alrighty then five cups of hot chocolate on their way.”
Lizbeth wandered over to Dawn and sat in her lap.
“Hey Lizzy, these are your cousins Geneva and Malani.” Dawn said with a smile.
Lizbeth stared at Dawn and said, “You do know you are weird right?”
Dawn stared at the younger girl and stuck out her tongue, “You have no idea.”
Lizabeth chuckled, “Hot chocolate,” her smile wide, as she accepted her cup from Xander.