Author: Jedi Buttercup
Category: B:tVS, Harry Potter
Summary: The locket discovered in the Black House finds a new owner, courtesy of Mundungus Fletcher. 700 words.
Disclaimer: The words are mine; the worlds are not. I claim nothing but the plot.
Spoilers: B:tVS post-"Chosen"; Harry Potter mid-"Half Blood Prince"
Feedback: It's the coin of the realm.
Notes: This is my fourteenth entry in the twistedshorts August Fic-A-Day event. Remember that locket Harry & Co. found while cleaning the Black house in "Order of the Phoenix"? Now, remember the locket mentioned in "Half Blood Prince"? --rubbing palms together--
Willow stared at the gap between buildings where Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place, should have been, and frowned thoughtfully at the sensation of "not here, move along" that prodded at her mind.
"You're right," she told her companion. "There should be a house there, but there isn't. The magic cloaking it is almost good enough to fool me."
"But not quite," Giles sighed. "Good. I was afraid I'd been imagining things."
"No, it's there all right." She blinked and rubbed at her eyes. "It's like one of those 3D illusion books, where you have to cross your eyes to look at the pictures? Except that I'm not crossing my eyes, but I'm still getting that weird feeling, and none of the perspectives are right."
"I can't say as I've ever..." Giles started to argue, indulging in the comfortable habit of quibbling conversation that he'd picked up over his years with the Scoobies, but was interrupted when the curtain of not-here suddenly seemed to ripple in front of them. For a moment the vague outline of a multi-story residence could almost be seen, but then Number Eleven and Number Thirteen were left keeping company again, and the only evidence it had ever been otherwise was the short, bandy-looking man with long, straggly ginger hair standing practically atop them on the pavement.
Willow stumbled backward, trying to get out of the man's way as he tried to hurry away from the not-house, then went down in an awkward heap as his feet became tangled up with hers.
Giles was quick to the rescue, pulling the man up and away from her by the collar of-- what was he wearing, anyway? Some kind of dress? An ancient case fell from the man's arms as he did so, springing open as it struck the ground.
"You should watch where you're going!" Willow spluttered as the man shrugged out of Giles' grip, scrabbling to pick up the objects that had fallen out of the case and jam them back in.
"I-- sorry-- didn't mean--" the stranger mumbled vaguely, not meeting Willow's eyes, then flinched and disappeared as suddenly as he had appeared to start with. Except that this time instead of interference from the house-hiding spell, there was a loud CRACK! and a surge of energy from the man himself.
"Okay, that was awkward. But hey! It's always nice to have proof that I'm right." Willow glanced up at the perturbed expression on Giles' face, then grinned and accepted his hand up. "Don't worry, I'm fine."
Something clattered to the sidewalk as she stood. "He left something behind, it seems," Giles said, stooping to pick the whatever-it-was up.
Willow raised her eyebrows at the item as he showed it to her. A locket wasn't as useful as, say, a driver's license or some other kind of identification with a name on it, but the pictures inside might still help in their efforts to find out what was going on with the missing building. It looked heavy and antique resting on the palm of Giles' hand, and when she reached for it to thumb it open she discovered that it was also very heavily enchanted; no matter what she did, her fingers kept slipping from the clasp.
"Okay, I get the point," she finally told it, then sighed and looked up to meet Giles' concerned green-hazel gaze. "It's just like the house; somebody used way too much power up magic-ing it to stay closed. I'm not sure I can get it open without blasting it into little silver pieces."
"Did they leave a magical signature on it?"
Willow thought about that for a moment. "I think I see where you're going with this. If we can use the locket to figure out what kind of magic is being used here, then I can use it to scry for other magical signatures like it in the city and see if there are any other invisible spots like this one."
Giles nodded and tucked the locket away. "The more information we have, the better. This... anomaly has been worrying me since I first found it; I'd prefer not to be caught off guard when the inevitable crisis arrives."