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Unhappy Campers

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Summary: Think "Boys Town" for Wizards, Witches, Mutants, and assorted BtVS characters. I was really bored one night. This is the result.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > General
Marvel Universe > X-Men > General
EllandrahSylverFR1327,599161,40711 Sep 0611 Sep 06No

Chapter One: Arrival

Title: Unhappy Campers
Author: Ellandrah Sylver
Rating: FR13, for now
Disclaimer: Nope, still not mine. Just having some fun with them.

*******

The desert air rippled slightly, and a sharp POP sound announced the newest arrivals to the camp. Two young women rose to their feet from the comfortable lounge chairs they had been relaxing on. The taller, brown haired girl greeted the newcomers. “Welcome to Independence Camp for Troubled Teens. While here, you will be expected to follow the instructions of the camp counselors to the letter. There is no smoking, no drinking, no swearing or otherwise offensive language, no drugs, no sexual behavior, and no magic allowed. Wands, please.”

The young wizards who had just arrived exchanged speaking looks and glared at the girl. One, obviously the leader of the ragtag group, snapped, “I don’t think so. You clearly don’t know who you’re talking to, Muggle.”

A girl with short black hair touched the boy’s arm. When he turned his head, she whispered urgently, “Draco, remember what they told us. We have to cooperate or the Ministry of Magic will exile us, and destroy our wands. It’s only for a month. Don’t throw your life away for a month without Magic.”

The tall girl who had greeted them interrupted the black haired girl at this point. “That’s not entirely accurate, Miss…”

The girl whipped around to face her. “Parkinson. Pansy Parkinson.”

“Miss Parkinson. The initial thirty days are an assessment. After which, it will be determined if you need further care, are responsible enough to return to your homes and be ‘graduated’, as it were, or if you are beyond our ability to help, at which point, your wands will be destroyed and you will be expelled from the world in which you were raised and forced to live out the remainder of your natural lives without the benefit of magic. We have a number of counselors from your ‘Wizarding World’, who will be working directly with you on a daily basis, as well as a number of practitioners of various other types of magic, and many people with other gifts and skills that cannot be learned with magic. Rule number one. Intolerance is unacceptable. You will address others with absolute courtesy, or not at all. Breaking of any rules will result in the earning of demerits. Earning demerits means earning extra chores, and other disciplinary action. Now, wands. Please.”

The last word was clearly an order, and each of the teens reluctantly obeyed it. They really had no choice. The short redhead who had been waiting for their arrival with the tall brunette, smiled and took the wands, cataloging each one, and then placing the lot into a small bag. Without so much as a disruption in the air, she vanished. The five teens stared at the space she had just occupied.

“She’s a teleporter. She’s one of the second generation X-men. Nightcrawler’s her dad. We have quite a few mutants here. Follow me, please.”

The Leader, Draco, looked curiously at the young woman. “May I ask you a question?”

“Shoot.” Getting a blank look, she rolled her eyes. “I mean, go ahead and ask whatever you want.”

“What are you?”

“Human, female, Leo. You?”

He gave a startled laugh. “That’s not what I meant. I mean, wizards, mutants, you said there are others. What are you?”

“What you mean is what’s ‘special’ about me?”

“Yes.”

“Follow the program, keep out of trouble, and I might just tell you, eventually.” She held up a hand when it looked like he was about to ask another question. “Don’t get too curious about other people in this place. You’re all here to deal with your own problems. Focus on that. For now, follow me. We have to meet with the camp administrator, so that we can get you all signed in and assigned to your camp groups.”

“Groups? You’re separating us?”

“Did you expect to be kept together? That wouldn’t be a very smart move on the part of the camp, now would it? You five made some very bad decisions as a group, it’s time for you to learn how to make the right kind of choices for yourselves.”

The woman, who had yet to introduce herself, led the group to a small cabin to the side of the main compound. They settled themselves into the chairs that ringed the front office of the cabin, and waited to be called into the back office. One by one they went, only to come out again, pale and sombre. Finally, only the boy, Draco, was left. His trepidation had increased steadily as each of his friends had returned through the dark wood door and walked out of the office cabin with an escort, not a word in his direction.

When he was called, himself, he was quite subdued and looked neither right nor left as he entered the administrator’s office. It was this very thing that kept him from seeing the two observers in the room. A short blond woman, and a boy his own age who he would have recognized instantly if he had been looking. The administrator herself was a striking woman, roughly thirty years old. She wore thin, wire framed glasses, and had her hair tied back in a tight bun. She would have looked severe, but for her clothes. A loose, white blouse topped a long, brightly patterned gauze skirt and strappy brown leather sandals. Her outfit looked Gypsy-ish, and her tanned skin reinforced that impression. This was a woman who knew how to enjoy herself, when it was time to do so. He wondered for a moment how she would look without her glasses and with her hair down.

“I really wouldn’t follow that train of thought just now, Mr. Malfoy.” She raised an eyebrow at him challengingly.

He was startled, again. “How…?”

“Mr. Malfoy, I’m telepathic, among other things. Your surface thoughts are as clear to me as your spoken words.”

{Well, that’s just… disturbing. How the devil am I supposed to lie to a woman who can hear me thinking?}

She smirked. “You’re not, Mr. Malfoy. You’re here for retraining so that your integration into adult society will not include criminal activities. You are here to learn to BE a respectable, upstanding citizen, not just make yourself LOOK like one. Before you leave this facility, you will discard all of your personal prejudices, and will in fact have become a better person. Doesn’t that appeal to you?”

{Not particularly. Damn! How can this get any worse?}

“I think you’ll find out that the situation is quite a bit ‘worse’, Mr. Malfoy. Did you see the individuals who escorted your cohorts out of my office?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“They are known as personal counselors. Each teen who comes here is assigned an individual to work directly with them. A personal babysitter, if you will. They are matched by need and personality. You, sir, are a leader, and a born commander. This would cause problems unless you were assigned a very self confident and direct person. You also have issues with prejudice, and a distinct lack of respect for any authority other than that of personages quite senior to yourself in age. And even then your concept of respect is rather skewed and distorted. You will need to work in close proximity with your personal counselors, therefore, and will require very careful handling. Fortunately, for you, I have had two qualified individuals volunteer for your rehabilitation. Apparently, both believe that you are worth the effort. Would you say that you are worth their very valuable time?”

{Depending on who they are, I wonder if they’re worth mine?}

“Mr. Malfoy, you have no choice in this matter. And the next time I hear THAT tone, even in your thoughts, you will earn demerits. This is not the place for you to fall back on sarcasm, or your very twisted and overblown opinion of yourself. Is that clear?” Her expression had become quite forbidding and for the first time, Draco realized that this woman was a very dangerous person to cross. Twin spots of color appeared in his cheeks as he nodded his wordless acquiescence. “Good. Ms. Summers and Mr. Potter will be with you every minute of every day while you are here.” The amused look on her face as she looked past his shoulder tipped him off that there were other people in the room. After a couple of seconds, her last statement sank in.

{POTTER! Surely not-} Draco spun around, coming face to face with the nemesis of his school days, and a tiny blond woman who looked very fragile, although a dangerous strength rolled off her in nearly palpable waves. The former Slytherin focused on the face of his long time enemy. Just then, one of the administrator’s statements penetrated his suddenly furious brain, and he used the information to lash out. “Potter! I should have known! Not enough to kill my father and his Lord, now you have to volunteer to help these people humiliate me, too? What-”

Whatever Draco had been about to say was suddenly lost as he lost the ability to force air through his trachea. The small blond had her hand wrapped firmly around his throat and he found himself dangling several inches off the floor, at the end of her arm. He clawed at her hand in a panic, and she smiled, a dark predatory smile. In a deceptively soft voice, she commented, “Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Buffy Summers. You should feel very lucky that I don’t kill humans. As it is, I can hurt you. A lot. I would suggest you think before opening your pretty mouth again, Draco Malfoy. Harry here has graciously offered to help you get back on your feet, and is willing to do whatever it takes to not only train you to be a real person, but to keep everything that happens here quiet, so you WON’T be publicly humiliated. He seems to give a damn about your image for some reason. I don’t see why he cares, personally, but I look out for my own, and he’s dating my sister, so I’m helping. Now, are you going to be a good boy, or do I get to squeeze until you pass out and carry you out of here like a sack of potatoes?”

Draco dropped his hands, his silver eyes watering as he stopped resisting his captor. When she dropped him to the floor, he fell, heaving ragged gasps of precious air into his abused throat and deprived lungs.

“Mr. Malfoy, you are, from this moment on, answerable to Mr. Potter and Ms. Summers for your every move. They will be reporting back to me daily, and I will see you again in a month. That is all. Good day.”

Completely cowed, Draco followed his guardians, for that’s what they really were, out of the administrator’s office. They led him to a small cabin at the very back of the living compound. The cabin had a large main living room with a kitchenette in one corner, a sizable bathroom, and a spacious loft containing four beds and a thin curtain that bisected it, offering the merest illusion of privacy. Each bed was made up with white cotton sheets, a simple blanket, and a single pillow. A locker stood at the foot of each bed, containing clothes, towels, and toiletries for each occupant.

“Change your clothes, we have work to do.” Buffy ordered, waving Draco up the stairs to the loft. Harry showed him his bunk and his footlocker. Draco opened the trunk-like locker, and stared in disbelief at the clothing it contained. Three pairs of khaki pants and a half dozen white T-shirts, socks, boots, and underwear were all that was available. Not a robe in sight.

He gave Harry a shocked look. “I have to dress like a Muggle?”

Harry sighed. “No, Draco, you have to dress like everyone else here. That’s the uniform for the camp.” He waved at his own clothing, identical to the fare offered by Draco’s locker. “Believe it or not, this is the way you have to dress for a reason. Clothing here is practical, and carefully chosen to protect your skin from the sun and prevent you getting heatstroke. It’s also much easier to work in than robes. After the first couple of days, you’ll understand. And Buffy was right. We have to get to work. Your intake put us about an hour behind schedule for the day, we need to get going. Get changed, will you?” The brunet leaned against a support, crossing his arms. When Draco went to obey, he added, “You might want to put some sunscreen on your upper body, too. We definitely don’t need to deal with you getting burnt your first day here. It’s in the cupboard by the window.”

Draco walked to the cupboard and stared into it in complete confusion. He turned when he heard Harry sigh, and stepped aside quickly when the other man reached past him into the small cupboard. Harry pulled out a white tube with garish lettering on it. Holding it up where Draco could see, he pointed out the word “Sunscreen” on the front of the tube. Draco took the tube, and studied it carefully.

“It’s plastic, Draco. A very useful Muggle invention. Totally waterproof like glass, shapeable like clay, flexible like leather, it’s used for nearly everything in the Muggle world. You pop the cap of the tube like this-” Harry flipped open the tube. “and spread the lotion evenly over your skin. Anywhere that might be exposed to the sun needs to be protected or you’ll be burnt to a crisp before dinner.” He looked at Draco thoughtfully for a moment. “Want some help with your back?”

Draco’s first thought was to snap at his jailor, but he curbed the impulse. He was in completely unfamiliar territory here and had the feeling that he was going to need any help he could get. Without a word, he moved back to his own bed, stripped and put on everything but the shirt. T-shirt in hand, he walked back to the cupboard and presented his longtime enemy with his unprotected back. Harry smoothed the sunscreen into the skin with a professional hand, and gave Draco the tube to do the same to his front.

“Don’t forget your arms, neck, and face. And grab the hat above your bed, too. You’ll need it.” Harry picked a matching hat off his own bunk, settling it low on his brow and throwing his entire face into shadow. Draco followed suit, and the two young men returned to the lower level, where an annoyed looking Buffy waited impatiently for them.

“Took long enough. The horses aren’t going to exercise themselves, Harry. Come on.” She spun on her heel and stalked out the door with all the repressed fury of Professor Snape on a bad day.

The two males found themselves trailing behind her all the way to a large stable, which housed the forty-odd horses that worked the ranch on which the camp was located. Draco, who had never been on a Muggle ranch - or any kind of ranch, for that matter - craned his neck this way and that in plain curiosity as he followed his keepers through the large airy stable. When they reached a particular row of stalls, Buffy turned and asked, “Have you ever been on a horse, Draco?”

“Of course. Every well bred Wizard learns to ride as a child.”

“Good. How good are you?”

“I’m not sure what you’re asking. I can ride, but it has been several years. I imagine I’m a bit out of practise.”

She sighed in resignation. “Harry, get him up on Ginger. She needs a workout. I have to work with Diablo again today. We’ll be in the west corral if you need me.”

She stalked off without another glance at Draco, and he found himself admiring the sway of her hips as she went. Following the direction of Draco’s gaze, Harry chuckled and clapped the startled Slytherin on the shoulder. “Don’t even think about it, mate. She’d chew you up and spit you out faster than you could say Voldemort.” Draco shot him a questioning glance. “Come on, Malfoy, we have some horses that need exercise to see to.” Draco noticed that for the first time in their years of acquaintance, there was no malice in the way Harry said his last name. It was just a name.

Some five hours later, the very sweaty and tired forms of Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy dragged themselves to the fence surrounding the west corral. Having spent half an hour exercising each horse, and less in tacking and grooming, they had gotten a dozen horses exercised between them and were both somewhat worse for the wear. And apparently, Buffy was still doing battle with Diablo, although Sam - the head groom - told them that she had taken a break from the fractious stallion to take Foxfire and Cobalt out for a run in the south pasture. The three-year-old geldings were her favorites of all the stable’s residents, and she often rode one or the other when she was upset and needed to relax. That she had felt the need to run them both that afternoon did not bode well for her progress with Diablo.

The two young men clambered up on the fence and settled on the top rail to watch her work the stallion. At the moment, she was standing at one end of the arena, arms akimbo, watching the obnoxious horse race from one end of the enclosure to the other, veering away at the last possible second each time he approached her. Finally, he seemed to grow bored with his game and stopped at the end of the corral opposite the irritated woman.

Harry, from his perch midway down the side, called out to her, “I still don’t see why you don’t just wallop him between the eyes and be done with it.”

“Because I’m trying to tame him, not Slay him, Rabbit. Giving him brain damage is NOT going to help.”

“Rabbit?” Draco asked quietly.

“Someone in the mess hall overheard Dawn, my girlfriend, calling me Hare, as a short for Harry. Of course, that led to a long explanation by a chortling Yank that hares are called rabbits in this country and viola, instant nickname. Everyone ends up with one here. Wonder what they’ll call you.”

“So what’s her story?” Draco rubbed his throat gingerly. ”She’s freakishly strong. What is she?”

“I should let her explain that, but I think I’ll tell you anyway. Remember back in sixth year, when we were studying demons and such in DADA?” Draco nodded. ”You recall the lesson on Chosen warriors who fight the demons?” Another nod, slower this time. “And the discussion on the Slayer? Whether she was a myth or not?” Draco waited, seemingly frozen, as the implications sank in. Harry smirked at him. “Turns out I won that debate after all.” Tilting his head to indicate the diminutive woman in the corral, he finished, “You’re sharing living space with the longest lived Slayer in history. She’s been in the game for a decade, and is alive and kicking, although she has died. Twice. And apparently, three years ago, something happened that activated all the Potential Slayers in the world, so now she doesn’t HAVE to be ‘the Slayer’, she can be anything else she wants to be. She still slays, of course, just not as a constant activity.”

“So what is she doing here? What are YOU doing here?”

Harry sobered. “We both came to this place after the war ended. Did you know that the Slayers were involved toward the end? Without them, we would have lost. The Mutants helped too. In fact, you’ve met one of them. The redhead who was there when you arrived is a Mutant. Her parents both fought in the last battles of the war, and her mother died. I could say it was war, but for the fact that she was killed off the battlefield. Death Eaters went to their home and Mystique couldn’t escape. Nightcrawler and Nightshade teleported out of there, but Mystique got hit by the killing curse an instant before they escaped, and she was already dead when the three of them appeared at the headquarters for the Order.” The Boy Who Lived heaved a deep sigh of regret. “So many people died needlessly in the war. And death wasn’t the only kind of casualty.”

He gave Draco a serious look. “I had to fight very hard to get the Ministry to allow you and your friends the chance to go through the program here. This facility is technically for teens. As in, people sixteen and younger. Not Wizards and Witches who are, by law, adults in their own right and responsible for their own actions. They were all set to have you, Parkinson, Zabini, Davis, and Goyle Kissed with the rest of the apprehended Death Eaters. They’re still not completely behind the idea of rehabilitation. If we fail with even one of you, the Minister has decreed that you’re all to be publicly executed. I’m sure you understand why none of you were informed of this before you came here? I shouldn’t technically even be telling you now. But I think you need to know the stakes.”

Draco, always pale, had taken on the pasty look of the recently dead, and Harry looked at him sympathetically, understanding completely. The aristocratic throat worked hard as he attempted to swallow against the bile that suddenly rose in reaction to this new knowledge. He cleared his throat when he felt he was no longer in danger of retching, and croaked, “Why?”

“Why what? Why are they making plans even now to kill you and yours? Why did the Death Eaters murder innocent people? Why any number of things? You have to be more specific,” Harry replied, somewhat acerbically.

“Why did you fight the Ministry for us?”

“Ah. That. I happen to disagree with the Ministry of Magic in a great many areas, and one of them is the ‘Sins of the Father’ law. Short version, I don’t feel that the adult children of Death Eaters who weren’t themselves part of the organization should be punished for their parents’ crimes if their parents did not survive the war. And I felt personally responsible for the five of you, because I can say with certainty that I killed your fathers.” Harry paused, waiting for the anger he was sure would follow.

Draco looked away. “I know you killed Lucius, Harry. I saw it happen. He would have killed you if you hadn’t, and I think the better man won that fight.” He raised his eyes and met Harry’s gaze with his own unwavering one. “The world would have become a much darker place if you had died that day, Potter.” A long moment of silence hung between them, as they both recognized the paradigm shift in their relationship. Years of animosity fell away, bringing them full circle and placing them on the brink of friendship once more.

The silence was finally broken by a female voice. “Hey, is this male bonding thing going to take much longer? I’m starving.” The two of them faced the blonde Slayer, only just noticing that Diablo was nowhere in sight. Noticing their curious looks around the corral, Buffy grinned. “I put that cantankerous bundle of hormones back in his stall when he started trying to get at the mares in the next corral. Apparently Sheba’s either going into heat or is already there, and it was making him more crazy than usual. So, got some old issues worked out, have we?”

Harry gave her a lopsided smile. “You might say that. More like opened a nice big can of worms that isn’t about to be closed again.”

The Slayer nodded. “I wondered how long you would go before you told him what the deal really is. So Blondie. Are you ready to face the mess hall? I’m sure you’re going to want to talk to your friends, but you have to know you can’t. Not yet. This first stage of the assessment is kinda a dry run of tests and such. No direct contact, although you will be allowed to see each other, in the literal sense. As in, you’ll all be in the same room for meals and such, but you’re not allowed to communicate with one another in any direct way. Although if you were to ask me a question about one of your friends, I could go talk to that person’s counselor for you. I know playing telephony isn’t really that reliable, but it’s the best I can do. And we, the counselors, know just how important reliable information is. So if you have anything to tell any of your friends, you tell me, and I make damn sure they hear it. Comprendes?”

When Draco nodded, she added one final warning. “And make sure you shield your thoughts. You’re not supposed to know the real story behind getting you five into this place. Harry tells me you know Occlumency. Use it. It works against natural telepaths as well as it does against Legilimens, and you don’t need your wand to use it. I don’t think I need to explain WHY you need to keep your knowledge of this to yourself, do I?”

“Seems to me, if the administrator of this camp finds out I know the truth, I’m as good as dead, and so are my friends.”

“More than that, Mr. Malfoy. By telling you the truth, Harry put himself at risk from your Wizard government. I’m immune, as I’m not part of your world, but every witch and wizard in this camp falls under the jurisdiction of your world’s leaders, and they are all here on a voluntary basis, but if the experiment fails, they all lose. You have dozens of lives on your shoulders now, Draco Malfoy.”

At that moment, the entire picture came together for Draco, and he stared at his ‘keepers’, humbled. “Why have you told me all this? Why are you…”

Buffy rolled her eyes. “Draco, Harry has told me time and again that, even though he doesn’t like you personally that much, the war, and what you did during it, proved to him that you were in fact a trustworthy person. And he also told me that when it comes to the important stuff, you’re the kind of person we can handle in a nice, direct way without playing games. I hate subterfuge, so even though the administrator has told us to keep the truth to ourselves, I have decided, on the word of someone I respect, to treat you like an intelligent adult and not lie to you about anything. And now you know. This is not some idiotic Ministry of Magic stunt to make itself look good. We have to make good on Harry’s offer to your government, or you’re all toast. Speaking of toast, we really need to get to the mess hall before dinner ends.” She turned away and headed across the open space between the stables and the cluster of cabins without another look to see if the two young men followed or not.

Draco hopped off the fence to trail behind the blond Slayer with a thoughtful look on his face. Harry brought up the rear, observing his former nemesis’ body language and noticing the set of his shoulders and the folding of his arms that indicated the inward focus of his thoughts. The former Gryffindor smiled to himself. Looked like Malfoy was going to be alright. He loved it when his instincts about people were proven true.
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