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The Grouch

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This story is No. 3 in the series "Tasks Series". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Third in the 'Tasks' Series. Wesley is a very busy man getting the council back in order. He doesn't have the time to go traipsing off to Hogwarts to face the aftermath of the Third Task dammit.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > Multiple Pairings > HumorHatteressFR1511,671152,43213 Sep 0613 Sep 06Yes
I own nothing of the characters or settings.

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Wesley was a very busy man. Trying to get the council back into some semblance of order, attempting to piece together an ancient library from only singed pages in large garbage bags and making sure five teenage girls with super-powers didn’t kill each other occupied almost all of his time. This didn’t bother Wesley. Some might say he wouldn’t have it any other way. His only problem was trying to distract himself during the fractions of his day that somehow fell to his own use. He didn’t like those times of the day. They tended toward allowing him to think – something he frowned upon these days. If he was truthful with himself he’d be able to trace the frowning back to a moment not long ago when he lay bleeding…

But he wasn’t truthful with himself. He tended to frown upon that as well.

He knew people had noticed. His slayers most of all. They thought he couldn’t hear them calling him the grouch behind his back. To their credit it wasn’t in a nasty way. Then again it wasn’t exactly a term of endearment either. But he didn’t blame them. There were certain events…certain facts that they weren’t privy to. That almost no one was.

And so he was grouchy. And he liked to keep himself busy. Which was probably why he was sporting such a big scowl about being dragged from his office in the middle of the day to be magically transported to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

“I’m going to kill her!”

Wesley looked over at Buffy. The slayer was in that stage of hers where he’d be unsurprised if smoke started rising from her ears.

“It wasn’t Dawn’s fault Buffy,” Giles said calmly.

“Fine then I’ll kill Spike.”

Wesley didn’t congratulate himself on deducing something had happened at the Third Task. He could remember Dawn badgering him about it a few weeks ago, trying to get him to chaperone or some such thing. From the state of things now he was rather happy he’d been too busy to accept. No one had died. That much was apparent. If there’d been death Buffy would have been silent and fuming rather than growling loudly and fuming. Don’t ask him how he’d come to work that one out.

“Agh! How could this happen?”

“She’s your sister B, what do you expect.”

Faith, ever the logic. It was annoying how she was the only one nowadays that even came close to getting a decent smirk out of him.

“I expect her to know how to stay out of trouble!”

Wesley couldn’t help it.

“We are talking about the same Dawn yes?”

Buffy shot him a glare while Faith threw back her head and laughed. It was probably the most he’d spoken to anyone since returning from LA.

“How is the spell coming Willow?” Giles asked. Wesley followed his gaze to Willow directing a couple of trainee slayers in the arts of laying down a salt circle.

“Won’t be a sec. Sherri just had a little geometry trouble.”

One of the slayers with a jar of salt pouted.

“It wouldn’t be so bad if the circle wasn’t so big.”

Wesley could see the girl’s point. The circle was quite large. It had to be to fit the number of people in it. It seemed to him half the re-formed slayers council was making the trip to the magic school. Buffy, Giles, Faith and Willow not to mention himself and Angel. If that wasn’t enough they also had a solid half-dozen slayers at their back including his five girls. Monica, Sara, Carly, Sophie and Christal may not have looked like much - all were fifteen and in that, ‘lace is cool’ stage of their adolescence. Except Chris. For some reason she thought ripped tartan was a far better fashion statement for her teen years. Wesley personally tried to stay right away from it all. They were girls - but they were his girls and he knew how to train slayers. That’s why their presence here was so telling. This was a show of power if ever he saw one. The only thing he had left to wonder was why he was being included. And why did Angel look so damned happy?

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Severus Snape stood by the gate like he’d been built that way. He barely even fluttered an eyelash when the empty space in front of him became suddenly very crowded. He watched as one of the girls stumbled a bit before regaining her balance.

“You okay Chris?”

The girl put a hand to her head as if uncertain it would be there.

“Jeeeezus. I ain’t aimin’ to do that again in a hurry.”

Snape would have inserted his customary cutting remark here if not for one of the girls, this one all too familiar, spotting him and stomping up to his standing point.

“Where’s my sister?”

He was only happy the question wasn’t accompanied with strangulation this time.

“Miss Summers, how lovely to see you again,” he said in a tone dripping with his meaning otherwise. “If you’ll follow me up to the castle.”

He didn’t wait to see if the band followed.

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Wesley couldn’t help but be a little in awe of his surroundings. The castle was magnificent. As they followed the sour man through the halls Wesley practically couldn’t tear his eyes away from the moving portraits. And then it was the suits of armour. Then the moving staircases. There was just too much to look at. He almost didn’t realise when they’d reached the hospital wing. As it was he was one of the last through.

The whole room was utter chaos. Almost every bed was taken up with bodies of all ages. The addition of their party only made things worse.

Wesley had to crane his neck to try and see who he recognised. Dawn was easy to spot, perched on the bed closest to the door and being squeezed to death by her sister. That Diggory boy was in the bed next to hers obviously having been hassled by his own parents earlier as they sat quite calmly by his bed now. And there was Dana, by a bed where a big shouldered boy lay possibly sleeping or possibly unconscious. And Spike and Illyria and in the bed by them was…was…

Wesley sat down quite suddenly on the floor.

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Two weeks later Dawn sat on the edge of Cedric’s bed, swinging her feet beneath her and happily munching on a bag of Berties Every-Flavour Beans.

The hospital wing was still a veritable mess.

Harry was confined to a bed because he was Harry Potter and apparently any year that didn’t end in him being hospitalised was obviously about the time the devil should buy ice-skates.

Cedric was of course hospitalised because he’d been hit with the killing curse, however indirectly. Everyone obviously wanted to make sure he wasn’t going to drop dead from delayed reaction. The same went for Cho, though she had it a little worse. When it had come out that she had survived a direct hit from the killing curse everyone had gone insane, especially when her wounds had been cleaned up to reveal a big honking lightening cut across her chest. Dawn hadn’t really seen the big deal until Cedric had explained it all to her and Harry had lifted his fringe to reveal his own smaller version of the scar Cho was going to have.

Very suddenly everyone had wanted explanations. Dawn had never been so glad to see Giles' business face. It had been made very clear that Cho was under council protection and that any and all investigations into the matter of her miraculous survival would be entirely up to her. Cho’s recovery since had been relatively undisturbed – as long as you didn’t count Harry as a disturbance.

It was actually rather cute watching the two of them blush at each other.

Viktor Krum had needed rest and observation not only because he’d been under a curse but also cause Dana had kinda-sorta knocked him out. There had been a bit of an uproar at first until everyone had worked out what had happened. If a control curse wasn’t strange enough, Dawn had since seen Dana sitting with Krum every now and again when he was asleep.

Moody had also earned his own bed in the hospital. The real one this time and not the evil eater guy that had been playing him before. Dawn had talked to him a couple of times but he was in a bad way and often needed rest.

And then there was Fred. The real one. The one that wasn’t Illyria. The one that had Wesley almost go catatonic when he walked through the doors of the hospital wing and spotted her. As it was it took Angel helping him up before he could get up off the floor. Dawn didn’t think she’d seen him away from Fred’s side since.

Dawn still didn’t know how it happened but she didn’t feel so bad about it cause it looked like no one else really did either. Spike had explained about the curse and everything but it hadn’t really been much help as the purpose of the Avada-whatever was to kill a person, not split them in half. It appeared for now that Fred’s miraculous resurrection was something akin to Cho’s survival – it just happened, no one knew why yet. She could practically see Giles and Willow itching to research it. Wesley would probably join them eventually though right now it looked like he was a bit busy being all love-struck.

It was good. Dawn was glad that something happy had happened to them all for a change. That and Wesley had been a real grouch since returning from LA. She wouldn’t mind betting the return of the woman he loved would improve his mood just a little.

The End

You have reached the end of "The Grouch". This story is complete.

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