AN- I know it's been forever since I've updated this story, but I was reading through some of my old stories and got hit with some inspiration to work on this one. It's not much, but it *is* a new chap. *grin* More is definitely coming soon. Four days off from work! Yippie! As always, leave a review to lmk how y'all like it =)
"I never, ever, ever want to go through anything like that EVER again." Dean Winchester felt like he was going to puke. There was a reason he hated roller coasters. His little brother thought it was hilarious. Of course the pansy-assed little punk would think it was funny. The bad-ass Dean getting motion sick. It was a notion that no one would ever guess in a million years.
"I don't know, those goblins were kinda cute," Willow grinned, leaning in to steal a bite of Xander's ice cream. They'd just finished in Gringotts, finding out that an account had already been set aside for her and Sam. Apparently the interest from a twenty-four year old account had them set up for quite a while.
They'd decided to take a little break and get some kind of lunch before going to get their wands and a few robes so they'd fit in a little better. Well, Sam and Willow would get their wands, and Faith was very doubtful she'd be wearing any kind of robes any time soon.
"You would," Faith grimaced, gathering up the garbage from her own meal. "I swear, those things feel a little weird. If I didn't know better, I'd think they were demons."
"They are magical creatures, so they have a magical signature," Remus explained and Willow sent him a quirky smile, which wasn't lost on anyone. Faith grinned and elbowed Dean, who smirked over at Xander- who immediately lost his smile until Willow winked over at him again. Then he grinned like an idiot, much to the amusement of the others.
It was obvious to the others that Xander and Willow had been getting closer in the last few months since she and Kennedy had split. Too bad Willow and Xander didn't realize it. Well, Xander did but Willow was a little slower on picking up on it. And that was okay with her best friend, because his friendship with her was worth more than anything else. It was a little ironic that their roles had been reversed from where they were in high school. Xander was the one head over heels with Willow now, and she was the one without a clue.
"Shall we proceed to Ollivander's?" Remus asked, a faint smile touching his lips as everyone finished up their lunch. "I believe he's expecting us."
"Is that them," Willow whispered, turning glimmering green eyes over toward Snape, who had joined them on the train ride to Hogwarts- where they were going to be staying for the next couple of weeks until they figured something more permanent. It was the only place they really felt comfortable staying. It was almost like staying at a hotel, the setting kind of indifferent instead of personal. It seemed like a better idea all around. At least until they were more comfortable. Remus had stayed behind in London, explaining that he had other things to attend to, but they'd be seeing him later.
She and the older wizard were standing in the hallway, looking in on a compartment full of teenagers. Sam and the others were in their own compartment farther down the train. Her eyes were riveted to a rather skinny, tall dark haired boy. He looked awkward, almost as if he was still kinda shocked that he was being included in the laughing group. Willow felt a sharp stab of sympathy. She knew what that was like. If it hadn't been for Xander and Jesse, her early school years would have been unbearable.
"Such as they are," Snape answered dryly. He was watching the muggle-raised girl with sharp eyes. She raised trembling fingers to touch the glass and he actually almost smiled. Almost. Maybe it was just a easing of the permanent scowl that usually crossed his face. He would never admit it, but he was rather proud of how the twins had turned out. The girl he was standing next to had faced darkness that rivaled his own, but instead of being twisted by it- like he'd been- she was almost sickeningly bright. Not as optimistic as she'd once been, but still so unbearably alive.
"Would you like to go in?" His scowl almost disappeared completely as she shook her head and stepped back as if she'd been burned.
"No, no. I'll wait for Sam. We need to meet him together, because it wouldn't be fair to do it without him. I mean-"
"I get the idea, Miss Rosenburg." Snape's scowl was back, and so was his ill temper as he cut off her babble mid-sentence. Not that it wasn't enduring, but he just didn't have the patience right now. "Let us rejoin your friends."
Willow sent one longing look back at the laughing teenagers, then followed the flowing black robes of the Potions Master. She wanted to meet her young cousin so bad it was almost a physical ache, but she knew they had to do it right. She couldn't imagine someone just walking up to her and blurting out, "Hey, I'm your cousin. Sorry to hear about your parents, by the way my real dad's the reason they're vegetables." Not gonna happen- not if she could help it.
"So, what's he look like," Sam asked as soon as they reentered the compartment where her friends were waiting.
"He has dark hair and eyes," Willow started to explain, then stopped, getting a goofy smile on her face. "He's almost as bad as I was back in school. If we were required to wear uniforms and a little more untidy."
"Ouch," Xander winced and Giles tried to hide the smile at the thought of his young charge as he'd first seen her in the library so long ago. She'd changed a lot from the shy, rather awkward young woman she'd been.
"Not that you were really, really bad, Will," Xander told her quickly, grinning at the grimace on her face, "Just really misunderstood. We both were."
"Nerds," Faith explained for Sam and Dean's benefit, winking over at her fellow Scoobies. They'd gotten over the bad blood they'd gotten into when they were younger. Too much had happened between then and now for them to hold onto old grudges. On either side. Faith had been accepted into their group, much more now than when she'd first arrived in Sunnydale. She'd proven she wasn't a homicidal psycho to them and they'd proven they weren't the judgmental assholes she'd first thought they were. At least, not anymore.
"We were nerds in the coolest way possible," Xander tried to defend himself and Willow, but he was grinning and there was a twinkle in his brown eye. "Loud Hawaiian shirts, baggy pants and bad jokes."
"Bright, fluffy clothes that my mom picked out for me when she was home long enough, long, straight hair, and too smart for my own good," Willow sighed, leaning back in her seat. "I was too nice, and really quiet. I was a bit of a spaz. Everyone walked all over me and I just stood back and let them do it. Until I met Buffy and grew a backbone."
"You should've seen Sam when he was in grade school," Dean snickered, then dodged his brother's hand as it made it's way to his mouth. "Talk about suspenders and plaid shirts."
"Oh, and you were the ultimate cool, Mr. Talk Too Much. Who was it that told one of their teachers that their dad was the President and that's why they had to miss so much school? And what about-?"
"Okay, okay, they get the point," Dean said quickly, his ears burning.
Snape turned to look out the window, tuning out their laughter as he tried to clear his thoughts. He was looking forward to the quiet darkness of his own rooms. Although he was with students a good portion of his time, he wasn't a social person. He never had been. But listening to the easy banter between the younger set he had to wonder what life would have been like for him if he would have had even one friend he could have gotten close to during the school years. It was his own fault, and he knew it. He'd been a bitter youngling, even in the years before Hogwarts. His family life hadn't been the best, and he'd learned early that trust only led to painful betrayal.
"I bet you're ready to get back to Hogwarts, Professor." Snape didn't even turn to look at the pretty redhead that had spoken to him, keeping his dark eyes on the passing scenery.
"You have no idea."