On to Diagon Alley
Vi nervously shifted her weight from foot to foot. This was it - her first test as a faux witch. In minutes they were going to go through a magic wall into Diagon Alley, the secret shopping mecca of London witches and wizards.
She shivered. What if they saw through her? Laughed at her and called her a Muggle? Sent her back to the U.S. in disgrace?
Willow, seeing the younger woman's nervousness, put her arm around Vi's shoulders. "You're gonna do just fine."
Vi sighed. Today should be easy. Compared to fighting the first, this was simple. There wasn't even the possibility of mortal danger involved, though she'd almost rather there was. She knew how to fight, but she wasn't sure her acting skills were up to this kind of deception. She took a deep breath for courage. Willow was right. She just had to have confidence. She was a Slayer, born to fight evil. She could do this. "Lead on, Macduff."
Ever since Giles' had told her this place existed, Willow had been filled with anticipation. There was a whole wizarding society out there and she was about to become a part of it, starting with what lay before them. Mere feet away from the coolest market in all of magicdom, Willow was giddy with witchy joy. Until she heard the whining.
"But why can't I go into Diagon Alley?" Andrew whined from the back seat, nervously fidgeting in place. "I wanna go."
Vi rolled her eyes. "Why did we let him come in the car, anyway?"
"Because he hid the car keys and refused to tell us where they were unless we took him," Giles muttered in disgust, climbing out of the driver's seat. Andrew had been constantly whining since they left the house. If he had to hear one more word from the boy, he wouldn't be responsible for his actions.
"But, Diagon Alley!" Andrew protested. "Full of broomsticks, and owls, and people with wands..."
"I still say you should have let me beat it out of him," Faith grumbled, stretching her long legs as she got out of the car. It had been too long since she'd had a good fight. Would have been fun to see the little man writhing in pain. Would have made up for all the pain he'd caused with his constant bitching and moaning, she thought.
"G-i-les." He stretched the word out into three syllables, his voice grating on the others' nerves like fingernails on a blackboard.
"He's not going to stay in the car, is he?" Willow rolled her eyes, thinking of the danger that could be unleashed by allowing Andrew access to wizard supplies. They'd be lucky if Diagon Alley was still standing after he got through with it.
Andrew crossed his arms over his chest and shook his head. No way was he staying in the car while they got to have all sorts of magical fun.
Willow sighed. Good thing she'd been reading up on spells, because she had just the right one for this situation. She hated to do this to him, but it was for his own good. "Manere!" she commanded, pointing to Andrew.
As the spell hit him, the blond sat up straight in the back seat of the car, trying to move. He wiggled in place, shaking his feet and waving his hands in the air, but his rear end remained firmly planted on the seat. "Help! I'm stuck! Giles!"
Willow patted Andrew's shoulder consolingly. "We'll bring you back some eye of newt."
He pouted and continued wiggling, but try as he might he couldn't get free of the witch's spell.
Seeing the little man squirm, Faith smiled. "You go, red!" she cheered, giving Willow a high five as they headed for Diagon Alley.
Giles led the way through the Leaky Cauldron, trying to be as obtrusive as one could get if one was a middle-aged man with three girls in tow. Though they were quite unused to seeing such a thing, the three did an admirable job of not gawking at the sight of patrons clad in wizarding robes. Still, they weren't paying him their complete attention, and therefore ran into him as he stopped before the entrance to Diagon Alley.
"Uh, G?" Faith said, almost hesitantly. "Where are we going? That's a big brick wall."
Giles looked back at her and smiled. He then turned, rapped on the stones in front of them in a specific pattern. The girls stared in amazement as the stones rearranged themselves, opening up to the manic marketplace of Diagon Alley.
"Wow," Vi gasped, unable to believe the sight of wizards and witches bustling along the busy street.
"Don't dawdle," Giles urged, stepping through the opening. "We have much to do today - and we can't leave Andrew in the car forever. Heaven only knows what trouble he'll get into."
He was past the cauldron shop when he realized they weren't following. Still enraptured by what they were seeing, the girls were staring at the magical stores. He glared. "Do come on!"
Willow, Faith, and Vi hurried to catch up.
"Sorry Giles," Willow apologized. "This is just...neat."
"Yes, yes, I know. Can we get on with it?" Giles glared pointedly at the girls until they hurried to catch up.
"Sorry, Mr. Giles," Vi apologized. "We'll keep up."
Faith shrugged, following the others through the crowded street.
Meanwhile, in the car, Andrew was still fidgeting. "Not fair. Leaving me stuck here, in the car. I wanna see Diagon Alley. I can be a wizard! I can do big-time magic. I made the flying monkeys, didn't I?" he muttered.
Then he slumped back in the seat, dejected. Willow's spell was simply too good - he couldn't break it. "Curses! Foiled again!"
Once he realized fidgeting didn't help, he sat quietly. He didn't want to be alone - hadn't wanted to be since the battle with The First. Alone gave him too much time to think, especially about why he'd survived when good people like Anya and Amanda had died. Okay, maybe Anya hadn't always been good, or always been a person... but she'd died a hero.
He'd never been a hero. Maybe if he had been, she'd be alive, or maybe he wouldn't be. He'd survived for a reason, and he needed to find out what it was. Did fate have something in store for him, or had it simply overlooked him, as he'd been overlooked all of his life? He didn't know, didn't know if he wanted to.
What he did know was that he wanted to be part of the group, to participate in the plan, instead of being magically trapped in the car. Andrew sighed. He was stuck here until they got back. "The least they could have done is left me with my GameBoy," he grumbled, staring out the window, settling in for a long wait.