Disclaimer: I own nothing, well perhaps a tin of cat food and some marginally fresh asparagus; as for the creator's of the character's I'm playing with Joss, Rowling, et al. So thanks to them 'cause this passes the time as well as anything else.
Time-line: Read it and you'll figure it out - or I can just tell you, after Buff does the swan dive and the summer after HPGF
Pairings: Harry/Dawn (friendship) Spike/? Willow/Severus or Willow/Angel haven't decided as of yet, Xander/Anya, whom ever else strikes my fancy
Willow stared dumbly at the letter in her hands, “She’s insane.” She said to no one in particular as she suddenly started paceing up and down her front porch. Both Buffy and Xander were curled up on her front porch swing watching her work herself into a fine fury of temper. Keeping themselves still and quiet. Their redheaded friend rarely let her temper go, but when she did – well duck and cover pretty much summed it up. She was taking deep breaths trying to keep herself from exploding mentally, magically and verbally. “There’s no way I’m gonna let her pawn this off on me; it’s her friggin’ sister for goddess sake.” She growled deeply. Then she glanced at the paper and screamed, “AARRGG!” Suddenly turning to the street and letting magic explode from her hand and pulse it’s way around the town alerting all it’s denizens to the fact their was a ‘very’ pissed off witch in the vicinity. Just as suddenly she collapsed onto her stairs and sighed, “How is it possible that I’m going to accept this responsibility?”
Xander sighed as he sat down next to her, “He’s your family Will’s, your mom may not care but I know you do. You said his parents died when he was a baby and his aunt and uncle have been taking care of him, then he lost that family to a house fire.” He frowned, “it seems odd to consider that doesn’t it. I mean I hear house-fire and the first thing I think of is Vampires or some other big bad has nefarious designs on the kid.”
Willow smiled, “Nefarious? Xander, I’m so proud.”
Xander grinned, “I thought you’d like that, see what I do for you I break out the big multi-syllabolic words for you Will’s.” He hugged her to his side.
She chuckled, “Just goes to show, how much you love me.”
“Of course you are my Willow-shapped friend,” He paused, “I know with everything that’s going on, it’s one more thing and I’m not sure how much more we can take; he needs you Willow.” Xander’s voice quiet as he stared at her until she met his eyes, “I feel it.”
“Damn.” She sighed as she leaned into him. She held out her hand for Buffy and waited until their blond friend joined them on the stairs. “Looks like I’m taking a little trip to England, I have a cousin to claim. Let’s just hope he’s not too Giles-y already.” She sighed as Buffy rested her head on her shoulder.
“Be back soon Will’s, Dawnie, well she’s 15.” Buffy sighed.
Willow leaned her head against her friends and said, “I’ll be as quick as I can Buff, I’ll be as quick as I can.”
“Will he be with you?” Buffy asked quietly.
“No, not until I pick him up the end of May.” Willow sighed, “I hope we can get this whole Glory situation figured out before then.”
Xander groaned, “It’s good to have goals Will’s.” The three friends sat on the front porch of her parent’s house until well after sunset.
Willow waited on the platform 9 ¾’s and watched with tired quiet eyes as the brilliant Red Engine pulled to a stop and the steam dissipated. She could feel all the magic users all around her and tightened her shields even more. Her cousin Harry attended a magic school a very prestigious magic school from what Giles had told her. She knew what he looked like she’d seen his picture often enough, black hair, Evan’s green-eyes, glasses and wizarding world robes. Yeah ‘cause that was in no way freaky. She spotted him surrounded by a very large family of Red Heads and a lovely dark haired girl. She let him say his good-byes and watched as hostile glances were sent his direction from several others on the platform. She watched as he shored his shoulders, took a deep breath and walked through the platform. She followed him with-in a heartbeat.
Harry’s green-eyes searched King’s Cross for his Uncle’s massive form. Not seeing him straight off he set his trunk down and sat on it waiting for his ride, saying his good-byes as his classmates passed by his stationary position. Suddenly there was a red head next to him introducing herself as, 'His cousin Willow, she was there to take him home.' She took one end of his trunk and waited for him to do the same.
Then she maneuvered them into a taxi and they disappeared into London traffic. She felt the spells all around him while they were in the taxi, she chatted mindlessly as she unwound all the fractured bits of magic from his aura. She noticed him visually lighten, his green eyes sparkled with intelligence and life, the more she unwound the ‘foreign magic’ from his own. There was a black line that had merged it’s self with his own magic. It was backlash from a serious spell, more than she could do at this moment. She was too tired.
Harry watched as they drove deeper into London proper, he burst into her chatter with a sharp, “Where are we going?” Then he pulled his wand on her, “Where are you taking me? Let me go immediately.” His voice tired and dangerous.
Willow was done, “You think you’re gonna stake me with that?” She asked darkly. Then she felt it out, and she smirked, “No you think you’re gonna ‘magically’ do something to me. It’s gonna take more than that wand Harry.” Her voice a growl. “Now put it away, I told you we are going home.”
“This isn’t the way to Little Whining.” He replied darkly.
“YOU have got to be kidding me!” She yelled and suddenly dropped her head on the back of the taxi seat. “They swore up and down that you’d be told, goddess what is it with that school of yours.” She growled.
Harry growled back as he asked, “what’s going on?”
Willow sighed and said, “You aren’t going back to Little Whining Harry, you'll be living with me and,” she paused, “my family.”
Harry was confused, “What?” He put his wand away.
“Harry,” her voice soft, “your Aunt and Uncle were killed, house-fire in March. The person from your school swore that you’d been told and that you’d be made aware of the change of guardianship.” She held his hand and tried to look anything other than tired.
“Dead?” Harry asked softly.
“I’m sorry Harry.” She said just as softly. “I didn’t know them, Petunia is my mother’s half-sister and custody came to me.”
“You,” he paused shocked, “you’re American?”
Willow chuckled, “picked that up huh?” As she patted his hand.
Harry blushed, “Not my most brill observation.” He smiled shyly. Then his eyes widened, “You do magic?” He asked in a soft voice.
Willow nodded, “I know this is a lot to take in Harry, but could we wait until we get to the house to go over this – the last few weeks have been,” she paused then her green-eyes danced with tears, “difficult.”
Harry nodded and kept hold of her hand, it looked like she needed the comforting as much as he did.
Fifteen minutes later the taxi had dropped them off in front of a four-story brownstone. She smiled as she helped him carry his trunk up the stairs and into the front doors. Once they were inside a brunette hurled herself into the redheads embrace and held her tight.
“Hi Dawnie, so this is my Cousin Harry. I told you he goes to a wizard’s school right, can I get a are-you-kidding me?”
Dawn pulled back with a little smile as she said, “Hello.” Then she focused on the redhead, “you were gone too long, Xander said you’d be back by 3 at the latest, I was worried.”
Willow hugged the younger girl and said, “I’m sorry I worried you, the phones will be here tomorrow and that way you’ll be able to reach me when ever you need to, right?”
Dawn smiled and nodded softly, as she let the scowl fall away. Then she turned to Harry and smiled again as she said, “I’ll show you to your room, we are up on the third floor – Xander says better to hear quiet feet sneaking around and that he’s not fixing the stair that squeaks.” She took his hand and pulled him behind her.
Willow smiled and moved through the house, “Hey Spike.” The redhead called as she passed the door to his basement apartment on her way to the kitchen. She stuck her head in the kitchen and seeing no Xander she moved back through the first floor checking the dinning room, the sitting room and the library and still not finding him. She stared at Harry’s trunk and moved it up to the third floor. She smiled as Dawn yelled, “Thanks Will’s!” Then she moved through ‘her’ library and into the garden and still finding no Xander she moved back through the house and up to her room, where she passed out on her bed.
Harry was grinning, he couldn’t help it his Cousin’s family did that to him. He and Dawn were out with Spike getting ice cream, at three am. It had been his first night away from both Hogwarts and the Dursley’s. He knew he was sad that they died, but he wasn’t sad that he wasn’t with him. He’d been concerned that these people worked for Voldemort, when he brought it up Spike spit his blood out all over the kitchen table and then growled, that he was more likely to take a walk in the sun than play nicely with ‘that wanker!’ Which had led to Harry’s story about his first four years and Cedric’s death at the conclusion of the triwizard tournament, just a week ago. That had led to cussing and crying on his behalf by Spike and Dawn. Harry’s revelations led to Dawn’s own tearful story of her mom and Buffy’s death in the past year, which led to growling (from Spike) and swearing, by Harry. At the end of the heart-wrenching tale they’d gone in search of his Cousin Willow. Whom they found dead asleep on her bed, still fully clothed. Both Dawn and Spike insisted they let her sleep, then Dawn convinced Spike that they go for ice cream. Spike had grinned and said he knew just the spot.
When they returned to the house it was 4:15 am and all three of them were laughing and exhausted. After the door closed Willow came out of her library smiling and saying, “Hey you three, did you at least bring me any?”
Dawn smiled and handed her, her ice cream, “Cinnamon with marshmallows.”
Willow darted forward and relieved Dawn of the ice cream; she pulled the top off of it and licked the top. “Yummy.” She sighed. “So did you guys have fun?” They moved into the family room and settled in for a chat.
Dawn smiled and said softly as she pulled Harry down next to her, “Harry has a ‘big bad’ after him too, did you know?”
Willow’s eyes narrowed, “No that also was conveniently not discussed at the custody hearing.” She let it go, “We’ll get to that later, does explain why you had all that ‘noise’ in your aura though.” She said to Harry.
Harry stared at his cousin, she could read aura’s, “What does that mean?”
“What it meant was that you were easy to trace, magically speaking of course.” She smiled as she continued eating her ice cream.
“Were?” He squeaked.
Willow winked, “yeah were, now you are very quiet on the magical radar. In this house you are invisible to the magical eye.” She yawned, “I can’t believe I’m so tired, I’ve been like sleeping constantly; what the frilly heck. You two off to bed.” She smiled, “I need to talk to Spike, ok.”
Dawn smiled and hugged the red head before she waited for Harry.
Harry moved awkwardly in front of his Cousin and said, “Thank you?”
Willow smiled as she pulled him in for a hug, “I’ll see you in the morning, remember you’re on summer break no need to wake up early.”
Harry chuckled and took Dawn’s hand as she pulled him through the house and up the stairs to their rooms.
“What’s up Red?” Spike asked from his chair.
“How much of a threat is this ‘big bad’ to us?” She asked her green-eyes glittering with black.
“I don’t know, I’ll be finding out in the coming days; I remember this git. He was a prejudiced arse to start with, can’t imagine he’s gotten better. Bunch of isolationist wizards, lot of ‘em have less power than you do witch.”
Willow took a deep breath, “Human then?”
Spikes eyes flashed golden and he growled, “Miserable rats!”
Willow chuckled then her face turned serious, “I know you care for Dawnie, but we need to come to an arrangement Spike, favored childe of Angelus; clan Aurelis.”
Spikes full concentration was on the witch, “the chip?” He tried not to sound eager.
“The chip.” Willow said.
“Your price?” His voice almost purring in its sensuality.
“Protect my family.” She said easily. “The dark and the light have taken more than I can bare.”
“Who?” He asked almost lisping.
“Harry, Dawn, Xander, Giles, Anya, Tara, Oz, and any they or I may claim as family or mate, for the duration of their lives or unlives.” Her voice sultry as she let her power surface.
“Clan?” He asked softly.
“Only me,” she replied.
“The Bit too.” He said just as softly. “I don’t want anything thinking it can touch her with-out repercussions.”
“Then I want Faith as well.” Her voice a whisper.
“Slayer?” He hissed
“Yes.” Her own voice a hiss filled with dark power.
He moved behind her and slowly brushed the hair from her throat, “Peaches will have a fit.” He grinned.
Willow chuckled seductively, “I’m not doing this for him, my family will not survive anymore losses. Do I have an accord with A Master Vampire of Clan Aurelis?”
“How could I refuse such an offer Red?” He purred against her flesh.
“It will hurt, greatly for a moment, drink as long as you need to; you won’t be able to drain me.” Her voice a cold caress.
He accepted her statement with a nod of his head. Then he slipped into game face as the chip fired and his head pounded he sunk his fangs into her pale throat, their was debilitating pain and he would have withdrawn had not the magic held him in place; then there was no pain and he surrendered to the taste of her powerful blood. He drank enough to drain her twice, yet her heart never faltered and her magic didn’t waver for even a moment. He sighed as he licked the wounds closed and kissed her pale throat. This bite was a Clan Claim, it would heal nicely with a scar and with her power it wouldn’t fade.
Willow held out her hand and smiled as Spike growled and crushed the chip between his fingers. “So now that the big bad is back,” she smiled, “You staying or taking over London?”
Spike smirked and said, “I never agreed to your accord Red.”
Willow’s black eyes glittered, “Ah but you did, when you accepted that bit of pain – when the magic wouldn’t release you though you wanted it to end; you accepted my terms right then.”
Spike’s demon pushed forward then he returned his human façade, “Good for you Witch.” He caressed her face, “You really would have made the most excellent childe.”
Willow’s hair faded back to red and her eyes back to green, “For you I would have been devastating – ‘cause for the Master, well he obviously couldn’t handle me in the ‘wish verse.”
Spike chuckled, “destined to be Aurelis though.” He smirked then flopped back down in his chair. “What do you want Red?”
“I want to know our enemies Spike, I want it to cost them dearly if they hurt our family.” Her green-eyes flecking with black.
“Your witch wouldn’t approve.” He smirked.
“My witch hasn’t approved for some time and as you know, she is no longer my witch.” Her voice soft and resigned.
“Love’s bitch.” He sighed.
“Amen to that.” Willow grinned. “Well I’m off to bed and,” she paused, “thank you Spike.”
He was shocked, “for what Witch?”
Willow smiled and said, “for being you, night.” She kissed him on the cheek and moved out of the family room and up the stairs to her own room.