Just a quickie! Buffy is Joss' sandbox, Harry Potter is Jo Rowlings. They makes the moneys, not me. -:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-
"Xander, you can open your eyes now. We're not over the water." Willow's voice was patient.
"No way! I'm not opening my eyes again until I'm back on good ol' mother Earth. Why did I let you talk me into this?"Xander wailed.
"Hey, you're the one that wanted to see what it was like to fly with me!" she protested.
"That was before I tossed my cookies on Dover!"
Willow and Xander were flying around courtesy of Willow's magical mojo, in search of a suitable castle that could be theoretically purchased or leased from the British government to be used by all the baby Slayers that they'd been forced to make. A plan that had sounded just fine to Xander, until the theory became reality. Then he discovered just how disconcerting it was to travel through the air, unsheltered and relying on someone else's ability to stay airborn. He really didn't want the last thing to cross his mind be his own kneecaps.
"Oh, wow." Xander could hear Willow murmur. "Xander, check this out."
"This is a trick to get me to open my eyes again, isn't it?"
"No, seriously! There's a castle that isn't on our map!" She sounded so genuinely excited that he decided to risk a peek.
Sure enough, down below was a castle that seemed to be unoccupied with a large lake next to it. Down the hill from the castle seemed to be a little village. "Huh. Wonder why not? It's not one of the ones the Queen uses to get away from London or something, is it?"
"Nah, those are all on the maps." Willow shook her head as she began to descend.
"What if it's a secret hideaway in case of kidnapping or nuclear war or something?" It sounded reasonable to him. He didn't expect Dubya would advertise his safehouse locations - why would the Queen?
"Those tend to be underground," she explained patiently.
"Castles have dungeons!"
They landed on one of the towers of the castle. "This place is pretty cool. Not to mention, humming with magic," Willow commented.
"I don't think it's unoccupied either," Xander noted.
"How can you tell?"
He pointed at something behind Willow. She turned to see what he saw - multiple telescopes affixed to the stone ledge of the tower itself.
A merry voice from behind them both rang out. "That's not entirely accurate."
They turned to see what Xander could only describe as a color-blind Santa Claus that went on Atkins. An elderly man with long hair and beard who appeared to have taken one of Xander's Hawaiian shirts and turned it into a full length set of robes.
"So, the castle's not occupied?" Xander asked, confused into forgetting to ask names.
"Not at present. It won't be filled with people again until September," the man explained.
"Tourist resort?" Willow wondered. "Oh, gosh, we're being rude Xander."
"Wow, yeah we are." Xander shook his head and offered his hand out to the man. "Sorry, my name is Xander Harris, and this is Willow Rosenberg."
"It's quite alright, dear boy. I find my manners slip on occasion when the surprise is sufficient. I'm Albus Dumbledore." His eyes twinkled with gentle understanding and affixed onto Willow with keen interest. "Willow Rosenberg, was it?"
"Uh, yeah?" Willow gave him a sheepish smile.
"You wouldn't be the Willow Rosenberg that recently worked that most remarkable ritual to simultaneously empower the entire Slayer line, would you?" he asked with a hint of eagerness.
Willow was visibly startled. "Yeah, I am. How did you know about that?"
"Miss Rosenberg, your very excellent achievement has been all the talk of the Wizarding community since that fateful May day. I do hope everyone is sufficiently recovered from the events in Sunnydale?" Dumbledore appeared to be concerned.
"Mostly, yeah." She looked around in a bit of a daze. "How do you know about all this stuff?"
"You are standing in the Astronomy Tower of Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, of course. I have the honor of being its headmaster," he explained kindly.
"Oh, hey!" Xander rooted around in his pockets for several moments. "We were supposed to come find you at some point. We're going to be setting up a base of operations in Scotland and Giles told us to talk to... here it is!" He looked at the slip of paper Giles had given him. "Yep, Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts."
"That wouldn't be Rupert Giles, would it? I haven't seen him in some time. I was visiting a witches coven in Devon and happened to meet him. Very different style of magic than my own, of course, but a delightful fellow to chat with."
Xander withdrew a card from his pocket. "He said we should give you our contact information if we found you. With a whole pile of Slayers to house and such, he said it'd be polite if we let you know we were going to be in the neighborhood, in case you ever need our brand of help with anything."
"Splendid! Might I ask what brought to this castle?"
"Oh, we're looking for a castle we can lease. Someplace big enough to house the girls," Willow supplied.
Dumbledore thought for a few moments. "I believe about a hundred kilometers in that direction, you'll find one that's not presently in use for either residence or tourism." He pointed in a northwesterly direction.
"Sweet! We should go check that out, Wil." He turned his attention back to Dumbledore. "We're kind of racing the clock here, or we'd stay and polite castle invaders, but if you don't mind, get a hold of us and we'd love to come back and visit. Maybe bring Giles while we're at it."
"I'd be delighted. This castle does have some emptiness to it during the summer holiday." He gave a dignified bow. "And I'm very pleased to see the Watcher's Council employing some fresh blood. They were growing rather stagnant, I thought."
"Not really a problem anymore." Willow chuckled. "Thank you, Headmaster. Give us a call or send a letter and we'll work out when to visit! C'mon, Xander."
Xander gave Dumbledore another handshake and they were airborn once more.
Dumbledore watched them with some wistfulness. And to think that sweet girl nearly ended the world once. Perhaps I shall speak with them about our difficulties concerning Voldemort