"Sacrifice Par Amarth: Chapter 1"

by Lisette: Lisette_an@hotmail.com

Legalese: The television series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all related characters and material belong to Joss Whedon and UPN. All things Harry Potter belong to JK Rowling. The television series, The Pretender, and all related characters and material belong to MTM, TNT and NBC Productions. I claim ownership solely of the story idea - no profit will be made by this.

Author's Note: To think that this all started so small! I swear that when I started "Twist of Fate," I had no idea that it would be the start of a trilogy! And to be honest, this story is getting posted far sooner than I had anticipated. Let's just say that circumstances have prodded me into posting sooner than I had wanted in order to clear up any potential confusion. In any case, this story unfortunately needs to start with quite a hefty author's note, so my apologies in advance! First off, I want to clarify some timing issues we may experience. This story is going to start in prior to the very last scene and where we ended in "Racing With Destiny." To clear up any possible confusion, we'll say that Harry and Buffy bid everyone a fond adieu in early July at Heathrow in London while their final beach scene occurred in late October. Likewise, this story is starting in a bit earlier - we'll call it late August. If you need a recap of the previous two stories, just jump to the feedback chapter after this - but an additional warning that the best way to avoid confusion is to just go back and read the other two if you haven't already.

Also, I'm going to be following in the footsteps of some amazing LoTR writers (Thundera Tiger and Bryn) and use the next chapter as a place to respond to every single feedback that is left for me. If you guys can take the time and effort to leave such amazing feedback, the least I can do is take the time to respond to it - and this way the responses won't clutter up the story! I'm sure that you'll all catch on to what I'm doing within a few postings, but whatever you do, just remember that if you're going to review a chapter, review the actual chapter and not the following feedback chapter. If you do, then later when I replace the feedback chapter with an actual post you will be unable to review that chapter. Hehe... hope that wasn't too confusing for anyone! Just email me if you have questions!

Finally, a cookie to whoever can figure out the meaning of the title! I'll warn you, each word is in a different language ;p Anyway, rambling concluded and back by popular demand I give you all the sequel to the sequel! ;p Please enjoy!

Brief Description: BtVS/HP/Pretender Crossover - Part Three of the ToF Trilogy, an AU look at BtVS Season 5. What if Glory wasn't the hell God that was driven out of her hell dimension, but rather the two gods that opposed her? Buffy and crew are about to find out first hand how two lesser hell gods aren't necessarily better than one.

Rating: PG-13 for Content

Sacrifice Par Amarth

Late August

With a soft sigh of summered air the swaying trees brushed their leafy limbs against the smooth glass of the large dormer window that overlooked the massive bed. Nothing louder than a soft shushing transferred into the room beyond, yet that slightest sound was all it took for one of the bed's occupants to be jolted into sudden awareness. Muscles tensing, Buffy slipped one hand beneath her pillow and wrapped her small fingers around the reassuring cool shaft of the dagger she always kept at hand even as her diminished senses were cast far and wide, straining against their mortal limits in search of danger. In thick silence one minute passed, and then two, and then several more after that before the former slayer finally allowed her hand to slip free of the silver dagger. Sighing, the breath that she had been holding passed between quirked lips as she allowed tensed muscles to loosen, her body automatically turning and rolling against the warm figure that lay beside her.

It had been a little over two months since the defeat of Voldemort and the subsequent bombshell that had torn Buffy's world apart, and the past two months had carried her around the world and back again as she searched outside and within for herself. If Buffy wasn't the slayer anymore, what was she? More importantly, who was she? It was a question that had plagued her mind, both waking and sleeping, and one that she struggled with even now. It seemed to be a question that she shouldn't have to struggle with for everything in her body screamed at the impossibility of the limits that had been forced upon her. It had taken her far too many years to finally accept the fact that whether she liked it or not, Buffy Summers was the Slayer. She couldn't just try not being the slayer as her mother had once asked of her, for being a slayer was ingrained into her very being. She was chosen to be the slayer and now that she wasn't... secretly, she was beginning to fear that it was going to take her several more years to figure out what that meant. At least it was a process that she wasn't forced to endure alone. After all, she wasn't the only one to have lost herself that night.

Smiling sadly, Buffy allowed her green eyes to track lovingly over the lean figure that slept soundly beside her. Even in the dim moonlight her sharp eyes could make out his messy, raven-colored hair, dark eyelashes hiding his beautiful emerald eyes, and a strong chin below full, smooth lips... and the lightning-shaped scar that seemed to glow white in the cold moonlight that washed over their bed. No, she wasn't the only one to lose herself that night, for Harry too had suffered a grave price for the defeat of the darkest wizard this world had ever seen. And in the end, as she watched Harry struggle with the same question that she struggled with - constantly striving to find a place for himself in a world that no longer welcomed him as a wizard.... well, despite the serious and extremely gratifying ass-kicking that they delivered to old Moldy Wart, she couldn't help but wonder why such sacrifices were needed. It seemed like such a cruel, thoughtless, and completely pointless price to pay to those damned Powers That Be that seemed to revel in making her life a living hell. After all, if she were one of the Powers, well, then she sure as well wouldn't force her champions to... well, give up their champion-ness.

Mentally groaning at the dismal track that her thoughts were taking her this night, Buffy sighed once more and rolled away from Harry's side and stretched her arms out above her. Even though it was in the heat of summer back home in Sunnydale, here in the Alps the weather was pleasantly cool and the chilled air felt good on her bared skin. Hmm... bared skin... Grinning devilishly, Buffy rolled back over and eyed the teen that was sleeping beside her. It was never any fun to be the only one who wasn't asleep at night, and while Harry never begrudged her for waking him when sleep eluded her, desperate for someone or something to take her mind from her thoughts, she couldn't help but feel a stab of guilt for her actions. Even before being called as the Slayer so many years ago, Buffy had never required very much sleep. However, it took only one look at the dark circles under Harry's eyes after a night of less than adequate rest - a night of sleep that she had robbed him of - for her to promise herself never to do it again. Not that the promise held any further than the next night when sleep eluded her. Sighing, she allowed her eyes to trail over his still features and silently warred with herself before turning away, freeing her bare legs from the warm comforter and settling her feet on the cool wooden floor, idly adjusting her small tank as she went.

They had only been in their little chalet... or was it a bungalow? - in the mountains of Switzerland for a week now, but already Buffy was able to navigate the little rooms in the dark. Then again, it wasn't as though she didn't have plenty of practice. After all, there was no denying that her slayer strength and speed were gone - her healing abilities as well, or so she assumed, seeing as how she wasn't exactly eager to test that theory. And while the loss of those abilities was a hard blow, it was also one that she was forced to endure before while in the hands of the Centre. She had put up with that loss for over five months and had to admit that the experience, while still providing her ample material for the nightmares that still haunted her sleep, was almost beneficial in helping her to deal with what she was going through now. But out of everything, the one thing that she was having the worst time adjusting to was the loss of her enhanced senses. The former slayer found it unnerving in every way possible by the fact that not only could she no longer sense Harry, but she couldn't sense anything. She couldn't sense a person's approach until they somehow alerted her to their presence, either vocally and physically, and more than once Harry's unexpected arrival caused her to strike out. All in all, the lack of her special sense made Buffy feel vulnerable in a way that she had never before experienced - a vulnerability that prompted her to keep a dagger always within reach and which kept her awake more hours than not in the wee hours of the night. Like now.

Sighing once more, Buffy silently pushed up from the large bed, tugging her boxers back into place as she moved on bare feet to the small hall beyond. Pausing on the threshold, Buffy turned back and allowed her gaze to sweep over Harry's half-naked form, his tanned skin illuminated by the bright moonlight and playing off of the white sheets that were draped over his chest and tangled around his feet, the soft cotton of his dark boxers contrasting with the bright wash of light. Smiling softly, she slowly shook her head, lifting a slender hand to tuck an errant strand of her long hair behind her shoulder as she padded silently down the hall and into the dimly lit kitchen beyond. Smothering a large yawn, Buffy moved over to the large, stainless steel fridge and tugged on the handle, wincing as a flood of bright light spilled from the open door and illuminated her small form. Blinking against the harsh glare she allowed her eyes to scan the shelves, looking for anything to distract her and finally settling on a bottle of water. Shivering slightly at the rush of cooled air over her exposed skin, Buffy reached for the water and was just pulling it free when the hand snaked out of nowhere and clamped over her mouth even as a strong arm wrapped around her waist, pulling her arms against her side and sending the bottle thudding against the floor as she was lifted in the air and pinned against the person behind her.

Jerking slightly, Harry forced his body to lay still as his mind tried to process what had woken him from his light slumber. Muscles tensing, he listened to the quiet house - a quiet that was shattered by a soft thud from the kitchen followed by the sounds of a person's muffled grunt. Moving before conscious thought, Harry grabbed his glasses from the stand beside him and was putting them on even as his other hand was sliding beneath Buffy's pillow, his hand searching for the dagger that she always kept handy... and that was no where to be found. Yet even that disturbing thought did little to detract from his growing worry at the sounds of what could only be a struggle that were drifting into the dark room from the hall beyond.

"Buffy," he whispered, his word catching in his throat as a cold sliver a fear worked its way down his spine. There was no logical reason to fear danger coming to either one of them. After all, Buffy was no longer the slayer and he was no longer a wizard - no longer even The Boy Who Lived in his own mind. Buffy never left a foe unvanquished and together they had defeated Lord Voldemort. There should have been nothing to fear, especially when hidden away in the little house they had rented in the middle of nowhere high in the mountains of Switzerland... yet fear they ever did. After all, to say that it was disconcerting to go from the feeling of being able to protect himself and those he loved with a mere thought to... this muggleness - well, that was putting it mildly. In the end, there was a reason that Buffy always kept a knife ready, and that fear seemed to have born itself out this night.

Twisting away from her side of the bed, Harry swung his long legs towards the cold floor, only to freeze as the shadows erupted from the room around him and took form into two dark strangers cloaked in flowing brown robes. "What-" he began, his voice lost in a surprised grunt as strong hands wrapped around each arm and pulled him bodily from the bed, his feet slipping out from under him and sending him crashing painfully to the smooth wooden floor. Grimacing at the bruises he could already feel forming, Harry didn't even have time to fully comprehend what was happening before he was hauled to his feet and propelled from the room and down the short hallway that led to the kitchen, a robed man on each arm.

Yet even while in the midst of the unexpected attack, Harry instinctively found himself turning inward, searching for the power that had always been there, trying to draw upon it to fight these men in the only way that he knew how... only to realize that such a thing was an impossibility now. There was nothing for him to draw upon as Buffy's Powers royally managed to screw them both over in the fight against Voldemort. Not that he was bitter or anything.

Okay, so he was bitter. Royally bitter. Who wouldn't be after going from so much power to.. to this?

Harry felt powerless - helpless - and such feelings only caused the anger that had been simmering in the back of his mind to flare forth into a blinding flame. While it was true that he was no longer a wizard, a guy didn't date a former slayer for any length of time without picking up a few things - such as the ability to hold your own in a fight even without the added benefit of superhuman powers. A fact that Harry quickly put into use as he twisted out of the strong grip of the guy to his right while slamming down the heel of his foot and grinding it on the foot of the other before following up with an elbow to the one who was even now grabbing for the toes that Harry had quite effectively clobbered.

To an outside observer, the scene probably would have been quite amusing, what with Harry putting up the fight of his life in nothing more than the boxers he had been sleeping in, his hair mussed by sleep. Then again, Harry wasn't an outside observer and former-slayer girlfriend with the moves to prove it or not, the second that a third cloaked man stepped into the fray and pressed the missing dagger against Harry's throat, the moonlight glittering off of the silver blade - well, it certainly took the humor out of the situation. After all, despite what Professor Snape continually insisted upon, Harry was anything but stupid and could easily recognize that for the moment, this fight was over.

Freezing, the teen slowly straightened and allowed himself to be brought the rest of the way into the small kitchen, two men once more fiercely gripping an arm each while the third led before him, stepping backwards with the knife ever pressed against the skin of his throat. However, upon entering the kitchen even the knife was forgotten as Harry's eyes lit upon the shadowy figure that was struggling with the small form of his girlfriend - a girlfriend that was putting up a much more admirable struggle, despite her small stature, than he had been capable of.

"Buffy!" he cried out, instantly dismissing the knife pressed tight against his jugular and his earlier wisdom to concede defeat as he renewed his struggles against his captors, desperate to reach the former slayer's side.

And even as Harry was calling out to her, Buffy was already admitting to herself that without her slayer mojo there was just no way that she was getting out of the tight grip that held her. At least, no way that she would normally consider. Instead, she had to admit that it was time to fight dirty. Green eyes narrowing, Buffy opened her mouth and bit into the hand that was clamped so firmly over her mouth even as she stomped down on his foot with everything she had, unknowingly mimicking Harry's earlier struggles. As the man let out a muffled curse, Buffy was already twisting out of his grip and diving for a nearby drawer, intent upon the score of knives that she knew were hidden within. She knew that if she could just get armed, the robed goons didn't stand a chance... or at least, she and Harry would certainly stand a better chance. After all, how poor was that? Sneaking up in the dark and taking Harry while he was still sleeping? Any self-respecting goon would have waited until the light of day and- As two new figures seemed to bleed out from the shadows, each one gripping an arm and pulling her back towards the center of the kitchen, Buffy's inner rant was forgotten as she was shoved against the hard edge of the square table that rest behind her.

"Why does this always happen to us?" Buffy grunted as she lifted her head to meet Harry's emerald gaze, almost wincing at the sound of her own voice even as she took in the fact that they were royally and utterly screwed. There were now eight opponents that she could see: three doing their best to control a Harry Potter that looked quite enraged as he struggled in his boxers, the two that were busy contending with her, the one that she had bitten a few seconds before, as well as two others that finally stepped forward. In the dim wash of moonlight from the many windows that dotted the room, Buffy could see that all of the men were wearing the same ugly brown robes that were belted around their waists with thick brown cords, giving them a very monkish appearance. And while the monk idea would certainly give credence to the unnerving silence that they all seemed pretty fond of, she had the distinct impression that monks were supposed to be all about peace and harmony - and not attacking strangers in their own rented hideaway.

Frowning, Buffy renewed her struggles as she unknowingly fell into the only defense that was available: sarcastic wit. "What, did someone steal one of your mules or something?" she asked as she aimed a vicious kick at one of her captors, only to find her aim go awry as the two men lifted her and pushed her back on the table behind her.

"Buffy!" Harry yelled again, his voice cracking as the one she had injured and one other stepped forward, each grabbing a leg and helping their brethren to pin Buffy to the wooden table. "Let her go!" he roared, his words mixing with hers as her eyes locked with his own - and it was the fear that she was desperately trying to hide that bit into him more than anything else. After all, as a Slayer, Buffy had always valued control above all else. She had the strength and the power to always be in control of a situation - and it was control that the Centre had taken from her when they imprisoned her for over five months; control that they taunted her with as they viciously beat her almost daily; and control that they eventually used against her as they broke her with drugs and bent her to their will. And with four men pinning her to the table with no room, and more importantly, no strength with which to fight them, these monks had just taken that control from her once more.

But all of their cries seemed to fall upon deaf ears as the one man who was unencumbered by either Buffy or Harry moved until he was standing at the head of the table, his hands reaching down until they were clasped around Buffy's pale face. Softly at first the man began to chant in a language that was unknown to either, and within moments the rest of the men followed along, their voices mingling until they sounded as one.

"Harry?" Buffy whispered, her voice more of a strangled plea then anything else as the chanting sounded around and over her prostrate form, deep and ominous and slowly growing in volume. She knew - Buffy knew that there was nothing Harry could do to help her, no more than she could help herself, yet that did little to still her whispered plea as the very air itself seemed to crackle with energy. Fighting back tears, Buffy turned her eyes away from her tormentors and instead leveled her green gaze on Harry's panicked features. Even when getting the crap beaten out of her by Lyle, and later by Moldy Wart himself, Buffy had never felt so vulnerable - so weak. So defenseless. It was a feeling completely alien to the former slayer and it was one that she found she wasn't enjoying at all. Idly, she couldn't help but wonder how Xander did it. Out of all of them, he was the only one of their friends who was completely and absolutely normal. He had no super powers, no magical background, no Wiccan prowess, no werewolf-enhanced senses - he had nothing but what every other human out there is blessed with, and yet he never once abandoned their side in the face of danger. Xander had always been willing to face the worst that the Hellmouth could throw at them with nothing but his witty repartee at his defense and he did all of this with far more bravery than Buffy was able to possess at this moment. Especially when Harry's eyes widened even further, his eyes locked on something above her even as the room began to fill with an eerie green light.

Biting back a distressed moan, Buffy focused on the courage that Xander contained in abundance and allowed her friend's distant strength to flow through her as she forced her eyes away from Harry and looked at what had so captivated his attention - and immediately wished that she hadn't. "What the-" she began, her eyes locked upon a glowing green ball of energy that the robed goons had somehow conjured into the very air above her body, her words dying away as that same ball of energy began to lower towards her.

Courage be damned, for if Xander could face this situation without flinching, more power to him. Buffy, however, knew that such a thing was very much beyond her grasp - especially as her skin began to tingle and the air became charged with energy, her lungs gasping for something to breathe. "Harry? Harry!" Buffy yelled, her struggles intensifying as at once the strangers' intentions became clear. With a slowness that was agony the energy came ever closer to her body, her skin beginning to burn as the energy was forced down by the chant that seemed to reverberate in her very bones. And then it was agony as everything in her body rejected the energy that seemed to stretch out and merge with her skin, digging down into her core and setting her body on fire. "HARRY!!!"

As Buffy's agonized scream ripped from her throat and echoed throughout the small kitchen, the monks' chant seemed to come to a crescendo as her body arched back on the table, her muscles tightening for a powerful instant... before everything fell silent. The green light was gone, the energy having disappeared into Buffy's form which lay unmoving on the hard wooden table, head turned to the side and a cascade of golden hair hiding her still features. "Buffy?" Harry whispered, his voice sounding loud to his own ears as the four monks who had been holding her slowly stepped away, releasing their charge and leaving her lying there on the table - seemingly forgotten as they seemed to sway from exhaustion. "Buffy?" he asked again, his words even softer now as he shrugged out of his captors' weak grasp and shuffled over to the table.

Stunned by everything he had witnessed and by the agony he was forced to watch Buffy endure, Harry could only stare at her limp form, her face pale in the bright moonlight. Hesitantly he reached forward, one shaking hand gently brushing at the hair that hid her features before settling against her cheek - and at the contact of his skin against hers, whatever spell had been holding him quickly shattered as Harry lifted fiery green eyes to the men that still littered their kitchen. Wordlessly he reached forward and gathered Buffy's limp form in his arms, cradling her against the bare skin of his chest as he backed away from the table, almost falling back into a corner of the room. When no one followed, Harry finally turned his attention back to the girl in his arms as he slid down the wall and settled heavily on the floor, his arms supporting her small frame against him even as one hand cupped her chin. "Buffy? Buffy, wake up," he murmured, the fear chilling his heart as she seemed oblivious to his every effort to rouse her. He could feel her heart pounding softly beneath her breast, and her breathing seemed deep and even, but that did little to still his fears as she refused to wake.

Fear giving way to anger, Harry turned his green eyes, glittering with unshed tears, back towards the monks that watched his actions with what could only be described as pity. "What did you do to her?" he asked, his voice betraying none of the weakness that he felt - the powerlessness of his inability to protect the one that he loved most. "Who are you?!"

With a quiet shuffle, the man who had stood at Buffy's head and led the others in the chant that brought the energy upon her slowly moved past the others until he was kneeling before the dark-haired youth - more man than boy, but undeniably young when faced with what he had witnessed tonight. "They are coming," he murmured, his heavily accented voice low as his brown eyes swept over the young couple. "My brothers and I can no longer keep it safe. You must now keep it safe."

"Keep what safe?" Harry demanded, his arms tightening around Buffy's limp frame as he held her closer to him, wanting nothing more than to kick the man that stood before him and make him get as far from Buffy as possible. But with Buffy cradled as she was against him, both knew that the most Harry could do was glare from his little corner - glare with an anger that would make Professor Snape proud.

"The Key," the monk replied, shrugging his narrow shoulders as though that answer would explain it all - as if the answer was that simple. "We had to ensure that you both would protect it, would protect it with your lives. The only way to be sure was to make it a part of the Slayer."

"But... I don't understand," Harry whispered, shaking his head slowly as he tore his eyes from the strange man and looked down upon Buffy's face.

"The Key is now as much a part of the Slayer as the Slayer is a part of the girl," the monk continued, his voice low as his eyes, too, locked on the small girl the boy held - the young woman that they had entrusted it to. "It was the only way to be sure that you would both protect it," he murmured again, perhaps trying to convince the boy as much as himself.

"But... but she's not the Slayer, and I'm not a wizard anymore," Harry countered, his eyes lifting to look at the monk once more - eyes that were filled with so much pain, both personal and shared. "We're just Harry and Buffy," he whispered, and from the way the words were spoken it was evident that the simple phrase was one that had been repeated often, both in his mind and aloud. "You saw us - we can't even protect each other," he added, his voice growing bitter as his eyes slipped down to Buffy's pale face. "How do you expect us to protect your key?"

Sighing heavily, the monk slowly shook his head as he looked at them with pitying eyes. "You still do not understand. Neither of you," he murmured. "You cannot stop being what you are, no more than she can stop being what she was born to be. It is who you are. One cannot exist without the other and you cannot simply decide one day that you are no longer either."

"You called that simple?"

Startled, Harry looked down once more and felt his heart catch as Buffy's green eyes slowly blinked open. For a moment they merely held each other's gaze, assuring one another that both would be alright before Buffy leveled a heated glare at the monk that stood by them. While she wasn't exactly sure what had just gone down, what with the agonizing pain driving her to unconsciousness and all, she had been with it enough to catch the man's final words of crack pot wisdom - and that was enough.

Smiling softly at the spirited girl, the monk slowly shook his head. "No, my child," he whispered as he slowly reached out and rest one hand upon each of their shoulders, saddened by how both stiffened under his touch, the boy holding the girl even tighter against him. "And neither will this," he added as practically simultaneously both of their eyes began to droop as their muscles began to relax. "Now rest," he murmured, a soft command hidden in the low words as their breathing began to even. "They are coming, yet in the morning this will be no more than a passing dream," he added as both seemed to fall into a deep sleep. "You must protect one another and keep moving. Leave these names behind you and leave this place - leave everything you once knew. We will try to draw them away from you, but you must do your part," he commanded as he slowly stood before them once more. "Just keep moving and stay away from the Hellmouth," he added as he gently rest a heavy hand upon each of their bowed heads. "Stay together," he whispered before stepping back and motioning a few of his brethren forward.

Without speaking, one man tenderly lifted the small slayer into his arms, cradling her sleeping form against him even as two others lifted the young man. As one unit they then shifted their precious cargo and moved them back into the darkened bedroom, settling both of the young ones onto their bed and drawing their discarded covers back over their silent forms. Watching from the doorway, the lead monk stood and watched over them until all of the rest of his brethren had left. Nodding once, he looked upon the couple for what he knew would be the last time. "The fate of the world rests with you both," he murmured before turning away and blending once more with the darkness.

Sighing softly, Buffy felt her dream world slowly slip past as the bright morning light pushed the dark night away, and with it went the faint rumblings of things better left remembered... or perhaps forgotten when the sun chose to shine so brightly. Bleary-eyed, the former slayer slowly arched her back, stretching stiff muscles much like a cat as her green eyes drifted to the young man, still fast asleep beside her. Smiling, Buffy gently scooted over until she was pressed against the warmth of his skin, one arm draping over him while her head found the place on his chest that seemed made for her alone. Sighing contentedly she snuggled up against him, allowing one leg to drift over his while her eyes slipped shut once more - only to blink open as a hand gently ran through her tangled blond hair. "Did I wake you?" she asked, a small smile playing at her lips and thankful that he couldn't see it. After all, they both knew full well that she had woken him, just as she did every morning.

"Yes, but in a much kinder way than Ron ever did," Harry murmured as one hand groped for his glasses on the table beside him. "And much, much better than the Dursley's," he added with a small smile as he turned to the bedside table in confusion. "Buffy, have you seen my glasses?" he asked, green eyes barely making out the fact that his glasses weren't in their usual place, the place that he always put them.

"Well, I should hope that Ron never woke you like that," Buffy added wryly as she wrinkled her nose at the visual Harry's words unfortunately brought to mind. Snickering, she quickly evaded Harry's playful shove as she pulled away and sat up, stretching out unusually stiff muscles even as she idly tried to remember what they had done yesterday to cause her limbs to ache so. Shrugging away the idle musings, Buffy turned, her sharp gaze landing on the glasses that were placed neatly on her bedside table. "Got 'em," she murmured as she clambered to that side of the bed, snagged the thin wire rims, and then rolled back to place them in Harry's waiting hands.

"Thanks," Harry returned evenly as he pushed back the thick comforter, his eyes absently noting the dark bruises that were forming on his knees. Frowning softly, Harry gently ran a finger over each bruised appendage before shrugging the injury away. "Have you given any thought to what you want to do today? Maybe head into the village?"

Frowning, Buffy watched as Harry moved around the room, gathering stuff for his shower even as she puzzled over his words - and more importantly, the strange reluctance that was growing within her. "No... I was actually thinking that maybe it was time to get going."

"Already?" Harry asked, pausing in his tasks to send the former slayer a puzzled glance. "But we have it rented for another week yet, and Ron and Hermione were planning on apparating in in a few days, remember?" he asked as he slowly turned back and settled once more on the bed beside her.

"I know, but... well, I think we should get going," Buffy returned, frowning thoughtfully at her words. "We should keep moving.... shouldn't we?" she asked, turning the question back at him, somehow hoping that he could understand her reluctance more than she could. After all, Buffy had been the one to push him into staying in Switzerland for so long. It had just been so beautiful and Harry had wanted to share it with his two best friends. Not that she could blame him, for after all, this was supposed to be their last stop before returning to their friends and the responsibilities that they had left behind. They both knew that they couldn't avoid their future forever and had to work to find their place in the world once more. After Switzerland they had planned on heading to the Hellmouth for a bit, to pay her own friends a visit and to see if that was where they belonged. But now... now she wasn't too sure. All she knew was that suddenly she didn't want their traveling to be over. She wanted to stay together, keep moving, and maybe... and maybe their friends would be alright without them. "Shouldn't we?" she asked again, frowning as she watched a myriad of emotions cross over Harry's face, the ones that she could read ranging from disappointment to puzzlement to further confusion, before finally settling on acceptance.

"No, you're right," Harry agreed, Buffy's insane logic suddenly... well, suddenly making sense. "We should stay together and just go," he murmured, absently pulling Buffy against him and dropping a light kiss against the golden crown of her hair. "We can always see Ron and Hermione... later," he murmured distractedly as he held Buffy tight against him. For some reason... for some reason he felt like he never wanted to let her go. Like he... like he wanted to protect her, which was of course quite ridiculous considering the fact that Buffy was the one who used to be a slayer. If there was anyone who was capable of protecting anyone else in their rather mundane condition, that someone would of course be Buffy.... but that logic did nothing to dispel the almost foreign-like feeling.

"We... we can call-"

"We'll leave them a letter," Harry quickly cut in, somewhat surprised by his own answer. "No one needs to know that we're going. It'll just be you and I and we can just.... go."

"Go where?" Buffy returned, a small frown pulling at her lips. She was so confused, as though something was wrong but for the life of her, she couldn't figure out what could possibly be wrong. After all, the sun was shining, she was in Switzerland, and Harry was holding her as though there was nothing more precious in all of the world.

"How about Tibet? Have you ever been to Tibet?"

Rolling her eyes, Buffy finally pulled away and set about packing her meager belongings. "Before meeting you, I'd never been out of California," she returned dryly even as Harry swept her up in a warm embrace.

"Then Tibet it is," Harry murmured as he held her close. "And as long as we stay together and keep moving, they'll never find us. I won't let them."

To be continued...