Disclaimer: Don't own anything but the story. All characters belong to their brilliant creators Joss Whedon and J.K. Rowling.
Note: Since this is a sequel it is highly recommended to read the first part, or else you'll be really lost. And as stated, this story takes place five years after the first one. Enjoy.
"Come on, come on."
The little girl struggled to walk towards him. Her little steps carefully planned and determined as she made her trek, never once losing the happy smile on her face.
"Come on," his baby voice continued to encourage.
In a fit of giggles the little girl finally managed to reach his open arms. Collapsing into him as he hugged her tightly and stood up.
"That's my girl."
She came into the room just as he was spinning the tiny girl in his arms. Smiling happily at the sight.
"Harry, put her down. You're gonna make her sick."
"She won't get sick. Will you Al?" he grinned.
Her small red head shook happily from side to side, as she put a tiny finger into her mouth.
"See, Ginny. Al's a big girl," he said lifting her up and spinning again. Al's giggles filling the room.
"Big girl or not, if she starts vomiting you're cleaning it up," she told him.
"Okay, lets put you down shall we," he gave in. Knowing for a fact that Ginny's threats were not to be taken lightly.
"Come here, darling," Ginny said, taking Al from Harry's arms.
The little girl snuggled into her mother's embrace, her head still a little fuzzy from the twirling.
"How was work?" Ginny asked.
"Oh, you know. The same old same old. Still have Death Eaters who want to bargain for a release."
"Still?" she questioned, surprised that it was still going on. "It's been five years since they've been locked up. You'd think they would've learned by now."
Harry shrugged and crossed his arms over his chest. His nose picking up some very delicious scents.
"Your favorite," Ginny smiled, seeing the look on his face.
"You're an evil woman," he mockingly glared.
"Well I do owe you for last night," she winked.
"Well in that case . . . "
Ginny grinned and headed towards the kitchen. With Harry following behind.
"If it weren't for you who knows what would've happened to us," she reminded him.
"The pipes were only frozen. I'm sure you would've figured it out."
"Yeah, I know, but I've been so busy with the baby and Neville's been working late hours at school. It's sort of difficult to get your mind working when so many things are running through."
"Professor Sprouts been keeping him long hours?"
"Yes, I'm afraid. She's still grooming him to replace her one day, and unfortunately she thinks Neville should be a walking encyclopedia for that to happen."
Setting Alice into her high chair, Ginny went to the stove and pulled out the roast from the oven. Harry playing with the little girl as he took a seat.
"I'm pretty sure you don't mind it," he said.
"At times, but he's doing what he loves and I can't fault him for that. If he's happy then I'm happy," she smiled as she placed the food on the table, and by the sparkle in her brown eyes Harry could see that she really was.
"Have you talked to Willow?" he asked after she took a seat. "She told me she was thinking of stopping by soon," Harry told her, as he filled his plate.
"She did. She came by for lunch," Ginny replied handing her daughter her juice. "Told me her and Tara are doing great with the shop, and that Anya's been a big help as well. Money wise, anyway."
Harry chuckled shortly knowing perfectly well how the ex-demon's charms could be. "Oh, that reminds me Xander said they'll soon be ready with those cleaning potions you ordered."
"You stopped by Diagon Alley then?"
"Just before I came here. Told them I was stopping by and asked if I could deliver the message."
"I can't believe Fred and George allowed him to work there," she shook her head.
"It's only a joke shop," he smiled.
"A wizarding joke shop. Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes! Xander's--"
"Used to the wizarding world. And not only has he helped to develop some of their most successful products, but he's in charge of their entire muggle tricks division," he pointed out, right before taking a bite of his potatoes.
"Yeah, I know, I know. So everyone keeps telling me," she surrendered.
Harry let out a short chuckle. "But you're not the only one. Hermione's on your side. She thinks it's completely insane."
"That's because she has a good head on her shoulders. Don't know how she ended up with my brother," Ginny spoke after swallowing her bite of food.
"That's . . . " he began ready to defend, but it got him thinking. "A good point."
Ginny laughed and the two carried on the conversation. Discussing everything from Kingsley's terrific job of being Minister of Magic, to Harry, Ron and Draco's changes of the Auror Department, and all the way down to Dumbledore's plans of retirement, Remus and Tonks' son, Teddy, and Faith and Wesley's continued fight against the forces of darkness in Sunnydale.
Neville arrived a little after seven p.m. exhausted but happy to see Harry. They talked for a bit about the usual, and around seven forty-five Harry decided to leave them, wishing a 'goodnight' and disappearing a pop later.
Arriving at his home in London, Harry took off his jacket and tossed it on a nearby chair. Hitting a button on his phone/answering machine, a little device Willow had made them all get, even Draco, because she felt sorry for the owls who had to fly back and forth between the UK and USA, he waited with raised hopes for a sign, but there were 'no new messages.' Checking his mail, his hope sank even lower when he didn't find anything in there either. Tossing the letters aside he went upstairs to take a long hot shower. Something that was becoming a habit with him the last few months. Stepping into the steamy water, Harry rested his forehead on the white tiles before him. Letting the droplets of relaxation run down his back. Trying his best not to think about her, miss her, but by the time the water had turned cold she was still on his mind. Giving up on his resistance, Harry dried off and went to bed. Awaiting yet another night where she filled his dreams, leaving him wanting and to wake up alone the next day.
"You know these just aren't the same without her," Remus said.
"Yeah, I know," Oz told him, chewing on his pancakes.
They were sitting around the breakfast table at Remus's home. The morning after the last hairy night for the month.
"Have you seen her?"
Oz shook his head as he wiped his mouth with a napkin. "After Greece we kinda went our separate ways."
"Yeah but that was over a year ago," Remus pointed out, the rim of the coffee cup on his lips.
"Got a letter, though. Few weeks ago."
"So did I. We all did, that makes it what? The fourth one in the past fifteen months," he shook his head.
"I'm sure she's all right," Oz tried to comfort, even if he was as uneasy as the rest of them.
"I'm sure she is as well, but . . . I don't know. I can't help but worry."
Oz nodded his head slowly in understanding. They were all worried. Buffy had disappeared over a year ago, and only by occasional letter did they know she was alive. But that wasn't really assuring either. Every letter said the same thing, 'Hey, it's me. Just letting you know I'm okay, and that I'll try to stop by soon. Miss you, Buffy.' Soon never came, and with every new letter that arrived they'd given up hope that it would say something different. The only one who hadn't seem worried was Dumbledore, which was really no surprise there. If he did know Buffy's whereabouts he wasn't telling, and boy did they try. Even Willow and Ron's puppy faces hadn't budged him, and those were the big guns. They tried tricking him as well, but then they remembered he was Dumbledore and yeah, that wasn't going to happen. So, they'd given up and just kept on waiting.
After they had decided to go on their separate journeys, Oz had stopped by Sunnydale for a while before going back to the United Kingdom. He enjoyed it here. Remus and Tonks had kindly given him room and board, free of charge no matter how much he insisted. They had a very large sound proof basement that held an enchanted, and unbreakable cage for that time of the month where Remus would spend his nights, and Oz would keep watch just in case. He had also gotten a job at Hogwarts helping out Hagrid with his magical creatures. Surprising a lot of people, even himself. The more he got to learn about the animals the more he liked it. They were interesting and weird. Something Oz was very familiar with. So, he would pop on over with his portkey every morning, and pop on home every night. It was good.
The sound of tiny footsteps came into the kitchen. Both men turned to the doorway and a cheery smile spread their lips when they found a blued haired boy running in.
"In case you didn't notice. He likes your hair this week," Tonks told Oz as she stepped into the room.
"I can see that."
Remus picked up his son and set him on his lap. The whole family going back to breakfast.
"Hello, welcome to the Magic Box how–oh it's you," Anya cheerily began as she looked up from the number books, then frowned when she noticed the person in her presence. Knowing for a fact that there would be no money involved, and the reason why they were here, she pointed behind her. "She's in the back."
He moved past her silently. He had grown accustomed to her innocent rudeness, and didn't bother being insulted by her words.
"Now where did I . . . " Willow mumbled as she looked around the stock room.
"Ms. Rosenberg," a voice said behind her.
"Oh, Jeez," she jumped, placing a hand over her heart. "Professor, you startled me."
He didn't apologize and she didn't expect one.
"I was coming to pick up those books I had ordered from you," Severus told her.
"Right, of course."
Willow moved around the crates and boxes, to a dark corner in the back. Her voice distant as she spoke to him.
"Like I said before. Once the books are in your hands, they're in your protection. Anything happens to them and bad karma comes a knockin'," she reminded him, as she returned to the front of the room with a cardboard box. "They're all in there. You can check if you'd like, but once you touch them that it's. No backsies. Oh, and no refunds either," she smiled.
"Yes, I know," he drawled taking the item from her hands.
"Is there a specific reason you wanted these?"
"That's my business if you don't mind."
"I wouldn't, except for the fact that they hold some heavy mojo. And given your past history of meddling with the dark stuff, and that this is my shop, I'm not going to let you walk out the door with something that could potentially harm others," she confidently told him.
Severus eyed her. The tiny redhead, he had learned, may not be a witch but she held tremendous power nonetheless. She was a Wicca. Therefore, held certain magicks he had yet to understand. But knew they were not to be meddled with.
"If you did not trust me with these items, than why did you fulfill my order?" he asked.
"Oh, I trust you. I-I do. It's just . . . that's a lot of knowledge. Universe, and power, and big bang and all. Dangerous amount really. Even if Mother Theresa came in here, not that she would, and ordered these books, which is unlikely, I'd still ask why," she said.
Clearing his mind of the ramble, Severus grasped the box even tighter.
"Personal. Use. Only," he pointedly drawled.
Willow narrowed her eyes, not believing a single word, but didn't take the box away. She wasn't lying when she said she trusted him. Severus was a regular customer at the Magic Box. He trusted Willow in getting the items he needed, whatever they maybe. It was much easier than going to Diagon Alley, where it would take twice as long to get his necessities.
"Just be careful. 'S all I'm saying. Oh, and before I forget, the aconite, gillyweed, and alihotsy you ordered will be arriving later today. I'll send them over as soon as I get 'em."
He gave her a curt nod and headed back out. Willow watching him leave, then turning back to the mess.
"Now where is that stupid hammer . . . "
He breezed out of the magic shop, away from the anti-disapparition wards, and a pop later, Severus was back at Hogwarts. His hands slightly cramping from his firm hold on the box.
He quietly walked to his room, and shut the door firmly behind him. Taking out a piece of parchment, he wrote a short note and sealed it in an envelope. Placed the letter inside the box, along with the five books he refused to touch. Then taking a strong piece of twine he wrapped it around the cardboard.
His dark eyes then watched as Fawkes flew from his perch by the window. His strong talons taking hold of the item.
"Same as the others," Severus ordered.
Lifting the heavy box like it were a sheet of paper, the phoenix flew up, and in a flash of fire he was gone.
A single red feather swooped onto the desk. The softness of it smoothing against his hand as he picked it up, and placed it in a drawer with the others. And with a wand tap later, the drawer locked again.
Severus leaned back in his chair. He closed his eyes, pinched his nose, and prayed that they knew exactly what they were doing.
Note: I hope there are still a few readers out there who will continue with this story. I wasn't sure about a sequel, but the idea kept nagging my brain. With all these scenarios popping up, so I cringe as I wait to see if I still have readers.