Thanks are due to SeleneHarker for once again betaing this chapter for me, and very quickly too.
Epilogue: Part II
The Scoobies, minus Xander, were all back at the Leaky Cauldron. Xander and the twins had claimed to be going "out on the town". Harry had heard mention of firewhisky and decided to get his hangover potion ready for when Xander came home. If he remembered anything from Hogwarts, it was that Fred and George Wesley could drink anyone under the table. Quite a few had fallen victim to the pair, including Oliver Wood, Seamus Finnigan, Lee Jordan, and rumor had it, Hagrid as well. How the two thin gryffindors had managed to out drink Hagrid's huge girth was unclear. Harry personally suspected some trickery afoot, but hadn't voiced that comment to the twins.
Harry had just double-checked that he had the hangover potion before settling in a comfortable armchair in his and Giles's room. His Uncle was currently downstairs chatting with a patron of the Leaky cauldron. Giles had struck up a conversation with the man about vampires earlier that day, all and all many wizards weren't particularly familiar with vampires. As a rule, vampires tended to avoid wizards, unless they had them outnumbered. Apparently having the ability to conjure fire and create sunlight made them more dangerous prey. Muggles were a much easier food source. As a result Wizards tended to have some silly ideas about what vampires were like, much of their knowledge quite outdated. Giles seemed bent on correcting this error. Harry had the horrible idea that his Uncle might even be considering writing a book for the magical world.
Harry's door opened and the young man looked up. Buffy stood in his doorway, her blue dress from earlier still hanging around her gently. Harry smiled as she entered, but felt a flutter of unease as she moved hesitantly.
"So..." Buffy paused. "This is your home, isn't it?"
"What?" Harry's brow crinkled in honest confusion.
"This is your home here, I just...I thought that when your magic was better you'd be home for good...but that is stupid isn't it...cause this is your home."
"Buffy," Harry faltered.
"I saw you with them tonight, they need you. They all look to you."
"Don't remind me," Harry said softly. Buffy hadn't been the only to become aware of Harry's role in the wizarding world. Despite how much he wanted ignore the fact, Harry was starting to see that this place needed him. They needed him to rebuild the wizarding world that Voldemort had shattered. Dumbledore, despite being the brilliant leader he had always been, wasn't the person that the wizarding world looked to anymore. But if Harry and Dumbledore worked together, perhaps they could make a world everyone could be proud of. A world he could call home.
"I guess it is," Harry said a little louder. Buffy bit her lip and swallowed the lump which was growing in her throat.
"So that's it," Buffy said deliberately.
Harry glanced up confused. "What?"
"That's it, there's no real point in even trying. Xander is right we are totally cursed, none of us is ever gonna have a nice normal happy relationship. I mean like Angel wasn't enough of a hint fate just had to throw in wizard hero too!"
"I think you've lost me somewhere?" Harry stated again. He watched the blonde pace around his room.
"Well that's it isn't it." Buffy repeated. Harry just stared at her, Buffy sighed. "We" Buffy paused to gesture with her hands, "are never going to be able to be together. You're gonna fight your evil here and I'm gonna be in sunny hellmouth. There is no way that this..." Buffy clamped her hand over her eyes, obviously embarrassed by the tirade.
"Oh," Harry hadn't thought of that. He'd just...he'd assumed that she'd still want to try even with all the complications. Neither of their lives was simple.
Buffy had taken a seat in the chair across from his own. Her face turned away from him, she toyed with her hands. Harry leaned forward and reached out. She tried to look calm as his hand clasped hers, but he didn't miss the way her eyes skidded. She took a breath, looking up into beautiful green eyes.
Buffy seemed to fall out of her chair and into Harry's arms. Resting her head against his shoulder she closed her eyes and breathed him in. There was something so delightfully exotic about the smell of him.
"It doesn't have to be," Harry said softly.
"What?" Buffy muttered.
"Now you're the one being obtuse," Harry said with a grin.
"Don't begin throwing big words around little Giles," Buffy complained. Harry opened his eyes wide looking mildly offended. "I meant it in a good way," she added.
"You're dating Harry Potter baby," Harry said mimicking Xander's bravado. Buffy rolled her eyes. "There's no such thing as a long distance relationship when Harry Potter's your man," Harry's eyes twinkled. He seemed to enjoy his playacting. It was a rare event indeed when Harry could let go and just have fun.
"Stop that, it's a little scary how well you can do that," Buffy said half in fun and half serious.
"Really," Harry said sincerely. "I know it seems kind of much...but if anyone can make something this messed up work out, it has to be you and me."
"Fate does kind of owe us," Buffy said with a smile, repeating the words Harry had said on the first day. Harry pulled her close and kissed her.
It certainly did.
- Back in Sunnydale quite awhile later-
"Then she said, I'm not going to stand for this nonsense, and I said, yeah well suck it up--"
"Buffy you didn't!" her mother said. Joyce flipped a pancake as she scolded her daughter. It was once again a Summers/Giles family breakfast as they all waited for Harry. Willow and Xander had also stumbled over and were happily eating the breakfast that Joyce produced.
"You're right, I didn't. But I did spit on her doorknob," stated Buffy cheekily.
"Alright Buffster," commented Xander while Joyce frowned.
"Well I had to," Buffy appealed to her mother, "She was being such a monster about it...not a real monster like with fangs and claws and hair...although her fingernails were suspiciously sharp...I wonder."
"Buffy your Chemistry Professor is not a monster...eh not a real one," argued Willow.
"You don't know you haven't seen!" Buffy stamped her foot.
"Well find a spare piece of her hair and we'll test it," Giles stated patronizingly.
"You're all ganging up on me, Go bugger off!" Buffy looked supremely pleased at her bit of british slang.
"Is that English or Wizard speak?" Xander asked curiously.
Buffy frowned. "Well Harry said it so I don't really know." Giles didn't bother to inform them, instead he and Joyce shared a look which seemed to communicate their amusement at the entire conversation.
"Where is the Wiz anyway. Thought he was coming here for a bit." Xander looked around as if expecting Harry to pop out of thin air, which wasn't that unbelievable.
"Only for a day," Buffy pouted. "That dreadful Professor Smitherson always keeps him late," she complained. Everyone else smiled. While Buffy seemed to be in a constant war with Smitherson over her boyfriend's time, no one else would think to call the Defense teacher dreadful. He had been kind to Harry, managing to teach the wizard some new tricks. He also didn't seem to mind that Harry asked to have day off from time to time. Even so, it was plain to see that Harry was interested in his work.
"See, just a little extra flip on the 'us'...that's it, great job," Harry nodded his head in approval.
"Thanks Harry!" The second year squeaked. She loaded up her bag and was the last to leave the classroom. Harry wandered about the classroom, picking up loose pieces of parchment. He had practically taken over the classes for the first and second years. He still felt uncomfortable leading the older forms, but that was largely because the seventh years had been his classmates and because of the DA he knew students scattered throughout the lower grades as well.
"Good afternoon Harry," greeted an older voice Harry knew well.
"Professor Dumbledore, how are you sir?"
Dumbledore entered and found his way to a chair, "Oh, fine fine, just old bones getting older." He smiled and his eyes twinkled warmly, almost enough for Harry to forget the truth in the headmaster's words.
"I was wondering if you were going to be at Hogwarts this weekend?" Dumbledore asked.
Harry nodded, "I'm due to go to Buffy's for dinner tonight, but this weekend is Mrs. Smitherson's birthday, so the professor is going home. I said I'd stay. If you don't mind...why do you ask sir?" Harry inquired.
"I'm afraid the ministry is experiencing some problems, I need to go in and help settle them. I just wanted to make sure that Hogwarts would be safe while I left," Dumbledore looked firmly at Harry. The old man's eyes seemed to shine with a sort of pride that made Harry uncomfortable.
"Uh...why are you worried about safety sir, is there..."
"Nothing to worry about Harry. Let us just say that the Ministry isn't the only place experiencing difficulties. I just want to make sure everything is safe for the students." Dumbledore's voice was calming but Harry couldn't help but wonder what difficulties the headmaster was speaking of. Still he didn't ask, just nodded his head.
"Have fun with your visit Harry," Dumbledore said as he rose to his feet. Harry grinned in agreement.
After Dumbledore left, Harry collected his papers and returned to the chambers that had been set aside for him. He rather liked the small suite hidden behind a picture of a young witch, who as Harry had learned, spent much of her time either gossiping with the other portraits or picking her nose.
Harry stated the password, and the picture swung open.
"Oh Harry, and they say that this Ravenclaw boy got caught with a girl on the astronomy tower, by Filch no less, not very smart eh, oh and- "
Harry let the door close, cutting off the young picture's never ending stream of information-you-just-have-to-know. He chuckled to himself thinking how much more use some like Lavender or Parvati could have gotten out of his room. He had barely listened to gossip when he was a student, of course a great deal of it had been about him...
Harry left his teaching aides in his room. Not needing anything else he headed towards the entrance hall. He passed a few students who greeted him as he passed. He waved to Professor Smitherson as the man was entering the great hall. The man waved cheerily back and winked. The professor seemed to have a rather vivid imagination when it came to the time Harry spent in Sunnydale with Buffy.
Harry walked through the twilight of the Hogwart's grounds and crossing the fence he reached the apparition line. With a quiet Pop, Harry traveled across the world.
Having startled Mrs. Sum- Joyce on quite a few occasions, Harry had taken to arriving in a park near the Summers' home and then walking to their house, politely knocking on the door. He thought that entrance might be more acceptable for Joyce. While she had accepted quite a bit about her daughter's life, the muggle in her sometimes liked things to be traditional. It had disturbed the woman more than a little to learn that Harry could just as easily pop into her daughter's bedroom, leaving her none the wiser. Not that Harry had.
Having left England sometime around six, he arrived during the morning on California time. Such travel tended to leave him with little sleep, but the trips were worth it. And, over time he'd been able to build up some resistance to the hellmouth's energy. Thus, he could spend almost a day here and feel no ill effects. He'd been hesitant to try for much longer, he knew that his fractured magical core still needed to heal.
Still Harry didn't mind walking to Buffy's house. It was nearing the end of fall and the beginning of winter, and while the temperature around Hogwart's was plummeting you'd never really know in Sunnydale. Harry wondered if all this flip-flopping would get to him someday. The terrible time difference, the vast magical difference, the sudden climate change, would these things eventually keep him away?
Would the magical world need him more?
These were questions Harry couldn't answer. Ones he didn't quite want to. He had decided to enjoy life as much as he could. What would come would come. Standing in the warm morning air Harry paused to look at Buffy's house. Inside he had a family waiting. It wasn't quite the family he had planned on. It wasn't the mother and father he had been born with, it wasn't his godfather, it wasn't even the friends he'd had for years. But regardless of its odd construction, it was his. And Harry fully planned to enjoy it for as long as he could. Family, it was all relative wasn't it?
A/N: What a fun trip it has been. I hope you enjoyed the fic. This epilogue is a little shorter than I had intended. Largely because there was an additional scene I had planned to include, but the more I thought about it the more I realized this one scene would really hamper any possible sequel plans.
However, for the moment I'll be leaving the HP/Buffy genre and venturing into new territory. Don't worry folks, I'm still interested in a possible sequel, hence the open ending, but I don't want to have a follow-up that is weaker than the original. I'm waiting for an idea that won't leave me alone, those are the only good ones. (Smiles, the fic I'm working on now has been quite insistent.)
Hope you enjoyed. This was the HP/BtVS crossover I wanted to read, and if you finished it, I suppose you wanted to read it as well. It has been a real privilege reading your responses. I might be venturing back for some editing now that it is complete.