I do not own BtVS or Harry Potter. Spoilers:
BtVS through Season 7. HP through Book 7, though not epilogue-compliant (I believe the term is EWE?). A/N:
Big thanks to kerrykhat, as usual! The title is from the Florence + the Machine song.+++
If someone had told Buffy a few years ago that, when given the opportunity to walk away from slaying once and for all, she wouldn’t
, she would’ve seriously questioned their sanity. And yet here she was, traipsing through the English countryside, hot on the trail of a werewolf.
Clearly, it was her own sanity that was in question.
She had known it the second she eavesdropped on that conversation about strange dog attacks in Devon – while
she was sitting in Trafalgar Square, cappuccino in hand, less than three weeks into her retirement, no less. The fact that she had had her bags packed and her ticket booked twenty minutes after that only confirmed it.
At least, that was what she had tried to tell herself. It was easier than admitting anything else.
If only her insanity defense didn’t have so many gaping holes in it.
For while she could rationalize away the rush of adrenaline she had felt when she realized that what the locals were calling a ‘yeth hound’ was actually a werewolf, it was a lot harder to do so the second time around, when she had discovered a pattern to the werewolf’s movements.
Which meant that it was next to impossible to explain the way she felt now, as she stood on the edges of the forest with nothing but a tranquilizer gun, a little silver, and her own skill, yet somehow feeling more alive than she had in ages.
Buffy shifted uncomfortably on her feet, not liking the direction her thoughts were headed at all. Thankfully, she was spared from any unwanted epiphanies a second later.
There was a flicker of a shadow deep within the trees, one that was distinctly human shaped, one that made her senses stand on end – and one that was moving away from her.
Buffy plunged into the woods in pursuit without a second thought, moving as quickly as she could in an effort to catch up. It soon became painfully apparent, however, that it was a losing battle. He was moving really fast, and that was on top of the good lead he already had. After a few minutes, she couldn’t even catch glimpses of his shadow. The only thing she had to go on was the faint sounds he made as he ran away.
Still, with single-minded determination, she picked up her pace – and almost fell face first into a surprisingly sizable stream as a result.
Barely stifling a yelp, Buffy quickly backpedaled as she eyed the unexpected obstacle; or more specifically, the steep, muddy bank and thirty feet of water that stood between her and the other side.
Then she sighed in resignation, slung her tranquilizer gun over her back – careful not to tangle it in her necklace – and quickly, if a bit messily, navigated her way down the bank.
She supposed it was a little risky just taking a tranquilizer gun, but she was really reluctant to pull out the heavy artillery until she knew the werewolf was a real threat. While she obviously didn’t condone the killing of poor, innocent sheep, it just didn’t rate. It was the same reason why she hadn’t contacted the others for help. Well, that and the fact that she was taking an indefinite break from them.
But that was another subject she didn’t want to think about, so she quickly locked those thoughts away with the other unwanted ones and concentrated instead on making her way across the water, leaping from rock to rock until she made it to the other side.
Once there, she stopped for a moment to take stock of the situation. The good news was that although the hem of her leather pants had taken a beating, she hadn’t fallen in. The bad news was that she couldn’t even hear the werewolf anymore.
Buffy hesitated. She could try to chase after him, but it was risky. He was heading deeper into the woods, and a junior ranger she was not. On the other hand, it had taken her three days just to catch a glimpse of him. Although the werewolf had only attacked livestock so far, the full moon was next week. She needed to catch him well before that time, before something was done that couldn’t be un
That decided it. Buffy quickly set off further into the woods.
She traveled another whole mile before she heard it; a noise that didn’t belong in the forest, one that made all the other noises suddenly quiet.
It was him. And he was practically sprinting right toward her. Whether it was because he had figured out she was following him, or she had unknowingly gotten turned around, she didn’t know.
What she did
know was that she had to take cover, and quick.
After a hasty assessment of her options, Buffy ducked behind some dense shrubbery; although a tree was obviously more solid, the bushes would provide much better coverage for both her and more importantly, the barrel of her gun, which was almost invisible as it poked out through the leaves.
Then she waited.
At first, she didn’t sense anything amiss. She just continued to scan the perimeter, waiting for him to appear. Then the sounds got closer and closer, but still, she didn’t see anything.
That’s when she knew something was wrong.
Suddenly tense, Buffy squinted so hard into the darkness she thought her eyes might fall out. Still, it took a whole minute before she finally saw the faintest shadow of a person less than fifty feet away – right before it disappeared.
Buffy would have been worried, except that in that glimpse, she also noticed that he was crossing in front of her instead of coming at her, as if he had no idea she was there.
Knowing better than to question her luck, she immediately took aim, a little bit ahead of the werewolf to take into account his speed and trajectory. Then she pulled the trigger.
Unfortunately, his own senses finally seemed to kick in just then. Just as the dart left the gun, Buffy heard him stop in his tracks and curse. Then she saw the slightest flutter in the air, as if he had spun around in her direction.
Buffy watched in irritation as the dart passed harmlessly through some bushes. She couldn’t sulk about it too much, though; she had to concentrate on the jet of orange light that suddenly appeared from his direction, heading straight for her.
Though Buffy scrambled to her feet, she knew she wasn’t going to get out of the way in time. Her only option was to hold the tranq gun in front of her as a makeshift shield.
It was a good thing she did. As soon as the orange light hit the gun, it blasted into smithereens, leaving her clutching nothing more than the ruined barrel as she flew backward from the impact.
Buffy twisted as she hit the ground, using the momentum to roll to her feet, just as another jet of light – this one red in color – raced toward her.
This time, she was able to dive behind the closest tree. As she did, she heard her attacker shout.
“What’s the matter, Greyback? Too afraid to come out and fight like a wizard, you bloody bastard!”
Buffy frowned. He thought she was someone named Greyback? Who the heck was that? And just how many people were tromping around the forest in the dead of night?
Then the second half of his sentence sunk in and she had to bite back a groan. He was a wizard – for if she remembered correctly, those who didn’t use wands for magic were called warlocks, while those who did were called wizards (and no, she would never tell Giles that she had actually listened to boring lecture on the different kinds of magic users). From the way his magic came at her, it made sense, too.
Buffy’s frown grew deeper. Was this even the guy she was looking for, or did she just make a colossal mistake? And yet she could’ve sworn he had sensed her presence right as she fired the dart at him. Was that because he was a werewolf or because he was a wizard? And did one necessarily cancel out the other?
Buffy shook her head. There were too many unanswered questions, and they were distracting her. There was someone out there, someone who was invisible and who currently had a long-range advantage on her, which meant she needed to take away his wand. She could worry about the rest after that.
She quickly formulated a plan. It was a little risky, but she didn’t have much choice given the situation. Also, she was kind of curious to see what he would do once he realized that she wasn’t this ‘Greyback’.
Taking a deep breath, Buffy closed her eyes and listened as best she could to pinpoint where he was. He was moving again, but very slowly, and very cautiously. That was fine with her.
Buffy snapped her eyes open and darted from her tree to another one about twenty feet away.
She heard him start to shout again, some spell most likely. It died in his throat the second he caught sight of her, though.
It didn’t escape her notice that no jets of light came her way, either.
“Who the fuck are you?” he exclaimed in a very masculine, very British, very surprised voice, just as she made it to the safety of the trunk.
“I could ask you the same question, Mr. Wizard,” she shot back.
He made another sound of surprise at this, and Buffy seized her opportunity. She stepped out from her hiding spot and rushed him, dodging behind trees and shrubs to help provide cover as she ran.
She heard him swear again. Then, after a noticeable pause, he sent another jet of light her way.
That was fine with her. Now she knew exactly where he and
his wand were.
Easily ducking his attack, Buffy drew her arm back and launched the broken barrel of the tranquilizer gun at him, putting more emphasis on accuracy than on force. Of course, that didn’t mean he wasn’t going to have one heck of a bruise in the morning.
Sure enough, she heard his yelp of pain a second later, followed by the sight of his wand flying backward through the air.
And then suddenly she could see him.
He was young, probably just a few years older than her; tall, too, and totally rocking the rock star vibe with his long red hair and earring, even as he cradled his arm in obvious pain.
He also had a very distinct set of scars going down the side of his face, one that looked like they were made by claws.
Buffy narrowed her eyes and ran even faster.
It was almost comical the way his eyes widened and his jaw dropped. And when he put his hands up in a gesture of surrender, she almost felt bad. ‘Almost’ being key.
“Bloody hell, woman! Will you just—”
His words were abruptly cut off as Buffy put her shoulder down and did her best impression of... well, some famous football player tackling another football player.
As soon as they hit the ground, Buffy was already scrambling to her feet, racing for his wand. Not that she needed to rush. While she hadn’t hit him nearly as hard as she could have – again – it was enough to knock the wind out of him.
As she watched him lie there gasping for breath, Buffy leaned against a tree, absently twirling the wand between her fingers like a baton. She began thinking of ways she could ask him if he was a werewolf – without being too obvious or give away too much, just in case he wasn’t the one she was looking for.
Unfortunately, the guy was tough. He started to push himself to his feet less than a minute later. At that point, the best Buffy had come up with was, ‘hey, don’t you hate it when you go to sleep and wake up with wool in your teeth’?
Yep, she sucked at this kind of thing, always had and probably always would.
Deciding that actions spoke louder than words, she stopped spinning the wand and quickly undid the clasp of her necklace – her silver
crucifix. Then, just as the guy finally straightened up, she tossed it to him.
Instinctively, he caught it, his eyebrows immediately drawing together in confusion as he stared at the object in his hand. Then he looked up at her, her necklace gripped so tightly in his fist, his knuckles had gone white.
She held her breath and waited, searching for any signs of pain or even just acknowledgement. What she saw was a whole lot of offended with a healthy dose of anger.
“You’re looking for him,” he said stiffly.
“Huh?” Buffy replied, momentarily thrown off by his response. Then it hit her. “Do you mean ‘Greyback’? Is he
For some reason, that made his face turn red, so red it almost matched his hair. “Is he a— Who is—” he sputtered angrily. “Really, you Yanks are unbelievable. I know the lot of you are terribly disorganized at best
– which is why none of you lifted a finger to help us during the last war – but honestly! Don’t you think it’s at least good to sense to know You-Know-Who’s most ardent Death Eaters, particularly those who evaded capture after the Battle of Hogwarts?”
Then he let out another string of curses, one that would have even made Spike blush.
Buffy frowned. “What’s with all the swearing? Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?”
That stopped him in his tracks. “Out of everything I just said, that’s
what you choose to focus on? My cursing?”
Buffy shrugged. “It’s the only part I understood. Seriously, what do warts have to do with a war? Is it a British thing or a Wizard thing?”
“A—” he said with a frown. Then his face paled, which was pretty miraculous considering how red it was just a second ago. “You’re a Muggle.”
“I am not,” she said hotly. “Wait, what’s a ‘Muggle’?”
But he wasn’t listening. He was too busy pacing back and forth in what looked like an impressive panic attack.
“Shite! You’re a Muggle! But... how? You obviously know about us – and werewolves, I might add – and you saw through my Disillusionment Charm, so I just thought...” he muttered to himself. “I’ll be sanctioned for this... or worse. They’ll lock me up in St. Mungo’s. They already think I’m a bit of a lunatic as of late—”
“Gee, I don’t know why,” Buffy interjected.
She received a dirty look in return.
“Well, you’re mental, too, if you think you can go after him by yourself,” he said, his voice so annoyingly arrogant, she felt the urge to stick her tongue at him.
Instead, she just gave him her brightest smile. “I guess I’ll see you in St. Muddo’s then.”
“Mungo’s,” he corrected before he caught himself.
She just shrugged. “If you say so,” she said. She pushed herself off the tree and turned around to leave.
“You can’t leave with my wand!” he exclaimed, and she could hear the panic in his voice.
Buffy turned back around. “Right,” she said sarcastically. “I’ll just give you your weapon back. You know, the one you attacked me with just a few minutes ago.”
“Only because you attacked me first,” he pointed out.
“Well, yeah, but that’s beside the point,” she retorted.
He frowned. “Why?”
She scowled right back and put her hands on her hips for good measure. “Because I said so.”
“Because you— oh, never mind,” he said, obviously exasperated as he ran a hand over his face. Then he peeked up at her, a hopeful look on his face. “What if I promise I won’t use it against you?”
Buffy snorted before she could stop herself. “Because no one’s ever broken a promise before.”
This made him throw his hands up in frustration. “Believe me, you do not want anyone to find you in possession of a wand. The authorities take that kind of thing quite seriously.”
He seemed really sincere and really
worried. And yet, all Buffy could think was that they had ‘authorities’. Giles hadn’t mentioned that
(or had he?).
Either way, she was dying to ask about it, but she resisted. Instead she said, “First tell me who Greyback is.”
He didn’t answer; he just crossed his arms over his chest and glared at her. She knew that look very well, though usually Dawn was the one giving it.
Buffy rolled her eyes. She didn’t have time for this.
“Whatever,” she said, waving her hand dismissively. “At least I have a name now. That’s more than I had ten minutes ago.”
Still, she didn’t make an effort to leave, unsure what she should do about his wand. Call her jaded, but she had some serious trust issues lately. Handing it back to him seemed stupid. On the other hand, she had no use for it, and he really did seem serious about causing trouble if she took it. Heck, if it wasn’t for the aforementioned trust issues, she might have even considered working together, since it seemed like they were on the same side...
Buffy sighed. “Fine, you can your wand back. Then we’ll part ways and pretend this never happened.”
The relief on his face was visible. “Fine by me.”
Very slowly, she walked toward him. When she was about two feet away, she stopped and extended the wand out to him with one hand. As he took it from her, she socked him in the jaw with the other.
He crumbled to the ground in an unconscious heap.
This time, Buffy really did feel bad, but hey, she had a werewolf to find.+++A/N:
For those interested - or maybe I should say if
there's anyone interested? - this is yet another Fic-A-Day submission that wants to become more...