Begin at the Beginning
A Drop in the Ocean
rated 15 (swearing)
summary: Hogwarts gets some new teachers for Harry's fifth year.
disclaimer: These people are not mine. The BtVS characters are Joss Whedon's. The Harry Potter characters belong to JK Rowling.
timeline: Thru GoF for HP, thru season 6 "Normal Again" on BtVS.
note: If you have a problem with Willow or Tara experiencing the man-love, please read no further. I know they were gay on the show, but guess what, ladies and gents... this fic isn't the show. Please let my have my heterosexual delusions.
*~* Begin at the Beginning *~*
Tara turned around to face the person hailing her. "Why?"
"Suddenly speechless?" She shook her head.
"Then what is it you want to say? You can say it, you know."
"She was a drop in the ocean compared to you."
Tara shot upright in her bed with a gasp. Why did she keep having that dream about Spike? What in the hell was going on with her? The last line. She always awoke after that last line. It made her feel tingly to hear it. Even in a dream.
Tara rolled out of the bed in the apartment no one knew she was staying in. Giles's old place. None of them knew. Giles had understood. She needed to escape. He'd just given her the keys and said the rent was paid until the summer. Well, summer was growing nearer, and she had no plans for what to do when the lease was up.
Tara walked downstairs to get a glass of water. Her throat was really dry. It was a bit stuffy inside, so she opened a window.
Tara screamed as something flew past her head. She grabbed a stake off of the kitchen counter and then froze. It was an owl - a large one, and it had dropped a letter on the coffee table before perching on the back of her sofa. Tara laid down the stake and grabbed the envelope. It was on parchment paper and sealed with wax. The writing was done in very bright green ink.
Miss Tara Maclay
the apartment formerly of Rupert Giles
317 Nocturna Drive
United States of America
Tara stared at it some more. What an odd addressing. The owl squawked, and she jumped. He seemed to want her to open the letter now. So she did. She blinked when she saw what the envelope contained.
HOGWART'S SCHOOL of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY
Headmaster: Albus Dumbledore
(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock, Supreme Mugwump, International Confed. of Wizards)
Dear Miss Maclay,
We are pleased to be able to finally offer you a position at Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. A position as the teacher's assistant to the Professor in the Defense Against the Dark Arts. We understand you have been working in this field unofficially for the past two years and have dealt with magic all your life.
The student term begins September 1. We will await your owl no later than July 1, as you will need time to prepare lessons and become acquainted with this part of the wizarding world. Should you reply in the affirmative another owl will come to you with a supply list and instruction for your travel here. I sincerely hope you accept.
Tara looked at the owl. She looked back at the parchment. She looked at the owl again.
"I should reply now and send this with you?"
The owl squawked. Tara thought for a moment. She thought of Willow and Dawn. Of Buffy. Of Xander and Anya. And Spike. She thought about Spike. That was all it took. Maybe if she spent a year abroad she could get these Spike dreams out of her system. It's not as if she had anything TRULY holding her here. Not really. Not anymore.
She tore a piece of notebook paper out of a spiral. The owl eyed it with what looked like distaste. Well, it would have to do. She didn't have any parchment lying around. She scrawled her reply across it in pen and grabbed a twisty tie from the kitchen counter. The owl squawked again in an indignant manner.
"It can't be helped." Tara whispered. "I have to do this before I change my mind." She twist-tied the paper to the owl's leg, and he was off.
And she would be too. As soon as she got her reply.
Tara looked out the window as the cab drove up to the building. It was HUGE. She was glad to be in England in July. California would be unbearable right about now. "So this is the Watcher's Council." She mumbled to herself.
She paid the driver and walked towards the main building. It looked sort of like a college campus. She had no clue where she was going, so she tapped the arm of a man who seemed to be rooted to one spot reading. He wore a long robe that was almost threadbare and seemed very rickety. Like he might fall over.
"I'm sorry to disturb you, but can you tell me where I might find Rupert Giles?"
"Ah yes, and you are...."
"Right." He shook her hand. "Remus Lupin. I've been waiting hours for a glimpse of you."
"Oh?" Tara was a bit nervous. The second he'd touched her hand the oddest sensation began working down her spine. And he'd been waiting hours for a glimpse of her? Not in any way WEIRD or anything.
"New professor's assistant. They haven't had one of those in quite a while, you know. Had to get your measure, girl. You'll do fine I think. Just don't let them bully you. But I see real good. Mouse on the outside, lion within. Quite nice. Bet the glow on you will even catch old nasty Severus's eye." He chuckled. "Your Rupert Giles is inside the main building there. Second floor. Take a left after the stairs."
"Thank you." Tara couldn't pull her hand away fast enough. Something about him was making her want to quiver in fear.
"Oh, Professor's Assistant Maclay?"
She turned. "Yes?"
"Tell Harry Potter that Moony sends his regards."
"Oh ok." She turned and started to walk off. Tara stopped. "Wait..." She turned back, but he was gone. She looked around. How had he gotten out of the courtyard so quickly? He didn't look like he could have moved that fast or at all really.
Tara sighed. "Who's Harry Potter?"
Rupert Giles looked up when someone tapped on the frame of his opened office door.
"Hello, Giles." She was smiling sweetly. Then her eyes landed on the person sitting across from Giles. "Willow?"
"Tara?" Willow jumped up. She took a step forward to rush into the other girl's arms, but stopped herself. She went to look at the floor when her eyes landed on a piece of parchment paper in Tara's hand. One with green ink on it. One like she had. "Hogwart's?" She whispered.
Tara looked at the paper in her hand. "Uh, yeah. How did you..."
Willow waved her parchment. "History and Lore of Magical Creatures. They asked me to be the professor's assistant. You?"
"Defense Against the Dark Arts."
"Tara." Giles said in awe. He looked at both of them. "I'm so pleased with both of you."
"But Giles, as I was saying, do you think it's wise for ME to be teaching magic?"
Tara looked at Willow. "Y-you can handle it. I'll help y-you."
Giles smiled. He knew the two of them had broken up due to Willow's magic abuse. It was nice to see they still cared for one another very much. It was nice to see that Tara had faith in Willow's ability to handle the magic.
"And I'll help you as well."
"I'm going too."
"You're looking at the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. And the teacher of History and Lore of Magical Creatures. That's why there are assistants."
"Giles!" Willow batted him on the arm. "I can't believe you didn't tell me!"
"I was waiting for Tara to arrive." Giles smiled. "Well, it says that you are supposed to meet a fellow named Rubeus Hagrid at a place called the Leaky Cauldron. Best we be off then."
"We?" Tara asked.
"Yes we. As if I would really leave the two of you to roaming around London by themselves to meet some stranger in a witch's pub."
"Witch's pub?" Willow asked.
They sat at a table in the corner of the pub. People in there were dressed so strangely.
"I will go inquire about this Hagrid fellow." Giles offered and made his way to the bar.
Willow leaned over to Tara. "This is kinda cool, huh?"
"I know. Weird, but cool."
"Listen, Tara, I-"
"You don't have to say it. We can be friends, Will. We can do this."
Friends? She didn't want to be just FRIENDS. "Friends?"
"Don't. Friends is all I can give you right now."
Willow's heart clenched. But she'd said right now. Ok, she could deal with friends right now. "Ok, I'm... I'm sorry."
"There's nothing to be sorry about, Willow. We were friends once."
"Professor Maclay? Professor Rosenberg?"
Willow and Tara looked up. It was a giant. A huge man with more hair on his face than either of them had on their heads. Willow was betting he stood well over seven feet.
"I'm Tara M-Maclay. This is W-W-Willow Rosenberg." Tara found herself mumbling. "We aren't professors though. Just assistants."
"Codswallup. You'll be fillin' in from time to time as I hear it. That makes you worthy of the title, I'd say." The man smiled.
"Who are you?" Tara asked.
"Oh! Sorry 'bout that. Rubeus Hagrid."
"Oh!" Willow jumped up and shook his hand.
"Hope I didn't keep ya waitin' too long then?"
"Not at all." Tara smiled.
"Giles, we found him!" Willow called.
Giles looked at the man standing next to Willow and couldn't help his jaw dropping.