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

Summary: Harry Potter has fielded and led vast armies, manipulated intergalactic wars and raised mankind to the heights of first ones but he did not actually exist until a chaos mage had sabotaged a Halloween on the hell mouth.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > General > Action
Television > Babylon 5
kunglouFR18660,73041218,15024 Nov 0614 Jun 07Yes

A disruption of the rules

Title: Chaos on the Hellmouth
Author name: Kunglou
Author email: AU
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Harry Potter had fielded and led vast armies, manipulated intergalactic wars and raised mankind to the heights of first ones but he had not actually existed until a chaos mage had sabotaged a Halloween on the hell mouth.

Disclaimer: I do not own either BTVS or Harry Potter and claim no rights to the copyrighted material. I am making no money off this story.
Author notes: AU, OC, HP: A matter or Perception/BtVS/Bab5

Revised 23/11/06

If you are unfamiliar with the perception series I really recommend that you read the first two pieces for this instalment to make sense. Keep in mind that Xander was possessed, his memories merged with the more dominant personality of Harry’s.

Ch2 – A disruption of the rules

“What we have feared has come to pass,” announced a disembodied voice. The disembodied voice sounded like both a man and a woman speaking almost in synchronicity and as it echoed through the artificially constructed plane several levels above that of mortal understanding; it could have been any number of powerful beings that inhabited the universe or a group of them.

“We must act soon before it becomes too late to avoid interfering directly, if that happens then the rules of the game will shift significantly.” Since the plane existed so far above normal understanding, it could only be comprehended metaphorically and through extensive use of symbolism. As a result it was not unusual that while it was as vast as the universe and encompassed several dimensions in their entirety, it only contained a single game board. Time and space were only useful in absolutes and not the metaphors that obscured the reality of this plane of existence.

“What of the others?” In fact it had been created for the sole purpose of keeping score of an old argument, an old conflict. Numerous red and blue spheres dotted the game board and though the red spheres out numbered the blue, any experienced player in the game, or indeed any powerful entity that had observed the game play out would see that the blue pieces held strategically superior positions on the board. Even so, neither the blue nor the red where in any position to claim victory.

“They have been contacted and they have proposed a temporary suspension, until the normal rules of play have been restored.” Red and blue spheres bobbed and danced across the board in an eternal struggle for supremacy as they had since the birth of the universe. But where until recently the board had been pristine in its purity, now it was marked by black hairline fractures that spidered across the board.

“There is a precedent,” the voice commented. “It is why we left only those able to draw upon OUR power in the game. It allowed us a greater control over the rules and ultimately the outcome.” The spidery cracks in the game board were symbolic only of a disruption of the foundations of the game. If left unchecked it had the potential to destroy the game board, cutting the pieces adrift. It was a potentially disastrous outcome for the powers that had been contesting their truth since the dawn of the universe. Even worse, if the pieces were cut adrift then ultimate control over them would be lost.

“Fools!!” a mocking laughter intruded on the plane, interrupting the dialogue of the voice as another powerful entity touched the plane with their power. “Do you imagine that YOUR purpose, YOUR argument is the only truth? In all the time you have been playing you have lost sight of your ultimate goals. Your attempt to destroy that which you feared has already led to your ruin, you have lost and you do not even realize it yet.”

“We will not let you interfere or hinder our ultimate victory. Humanity shall see our truth and if it becomes necessary we will purge the game board and restart our conflict.” Despite the harshness of the words and the mocking sneer from the other power, the disembodied voice remained as emotionless as it always had.

“Will you indeed,” the mocking voice chuckled as he left the plane as suddenly as he had entered it. The red and blue spheres continued their eternal weavings across the board ignorant of both the game board on which they played and the entities discussing their destinies.

“It is concerning that he has gained enough power to interfere with our differing of opinions into their fate, our search for truth,” a third disembodied voice echoed across the plane. Its dark whisper swept across the board causing a small flurry as the pieces subconsciously reacted to it even as they had remained unaffected by the dual voices of the first and second entity.

“Have you decided? The fact that he has gained so much power already risks threatening thousands of years of planning, more if the board is permanently damaged.”

While the plane was both integrally linked and removed from the constant flow of time, the powers of such potent entities touching the plane at the same time caused an infinitesimal shift. Even the entities that monitored and fought with their proxies on the game board failed to notice the shift as they concentrated on an age old argument.

“We agree, the board cannot be allowed to be damaged and the game MUST be played to its conclusion.” Both powers left the plane with a new agreement in place and the colored spheres bobbing and weaving for advantage as they had always done. To them, the resolution of their age old conflict was more important than anything.

Still, even with the temporary suspension of rules, the black spidery cracks continued to weave their way across the game board aided by the unnoticed shift in the plane.

Change it seemed, was inevitable.

“Giles, Xander’s turned evil.” The old watcher spat out the mouthful of tea he had been casually sipping while he had been doing some background reading on the Hell Mouth. The arrival of Buffy’s old crush Billy and the subsequent attempt on her life had not settled his nerves or the anxiety that he had felt since Halloween. He was worried that he was missing something important and as sad as it was Billy’s attempt on Buffy’s life was just routine for the Hell Mouth. Still, even with his increased reading he had not found the source of his anxiety. “Either that or he’s been possessed, I can’t tell which.”

“Dear Lord,” Giles muttered as he pictured citizens being crucified across Sunnydale and an unholy slaughter following in its wake as Xander’s Halloween costume rampaged through the town. The older watcher shuddered; he still had not forgotten the powerful and seemingly cruel figure that had possessed the boy at Halloween, nor the way in which he had casually used that power for destruction and mayhem. Giles flickered his gaze towards his blond charge as she stalked into his library with worry, would she be able to stop a figure that had taken a master vampire apart with such ease?

Perhaps she had meant something else, after all evil possessions on the Hell Mouth could have been any number of demons. Some of them even more monstrous than Xander’s Halloween costume had seemed.

“A…and what makes you say that?” He stuttered as he carefully mopped up his spilt tea before it damaged his rare and irreplaceable books. “Have you found out what he dressed up as? Noticed a distinct and aggressive change in his behaviour? Sensed or dreamed any prophetic dreams anything with your slayer senses?”

Mentally he was going through a list of people he could call to help in the struggle. His job was to keep Buffy alive at all costs and she would need all the help she could get against such a powerful magic user or demon. He did not question Buffy’s intuition, a slayer was gifted with more advanced senses than even a reformed chaos mage like himself had access too and if she felt the evil from Xander enough that she was driven to slay it, then he could only support her.

The feeling of dread that he had felt for the last two weeks deepened as Buffy raided the weapons cabinet. His instincts had been telling him that things were slightly worse than the normal over the Hell Mouth but despite his increased reading and vigilance he had found nothing, detected nothing and now he had failed one of the people he had begun to feel responsible for.

Watching the driven and mechanical way in which Buffy was stacking weapons from his cabinet, Giles could only wonder how he may have prevented Xander loss to the darkness. And a loss it was, Xander had in the past seemed an effective member of their team.

As soon as he gathered all the information he could from his slayer, he would put in those calls. Slayer or not, a powerful magic user was dangerous and if it where a demon, then that was equally as bad.

“Yes, he is spending most of his time with that troll Snyder and when I asked him to come along on patrol tonight he said he was going to stay at home to study. Definitely possessed evil.”

Giles stared at his charge in disbelief at her nonchalance and almost growled at his younger charge for scaring him like that. Instead he settled for collapsing back in his chair in relief and started to polish his glasses in nervous reflex. Crisis averted.

“You should not joke about things like Buffy, especially over the Hell mouth. It’s almost as bad as asking if things can get worse, incredibly bad luck.” ‘Bloody American teenagers,’ Giles thought in distaste. ‘No appreciation for the experience and expertise of others.’

“Who said I was joking?” Buffy asked her watcher with a raised eyebrow. “Come on Giles this is Xander where talking about here. Xander.” She sounded out the last into syllables as she stressed he point. “Since when has Mr.-I-hate-Vampires ever given up the opportunity to stake himself a few. There is definitely something wiggy going on here and since when was anything wiggy on the Hell Mouth a good thing?”

“Mmm… Yes, well.” Giles sighed again from his chair as he watched Buffy continue to stash weaponry into her clothing. He couldn’t help thinking that his charge had been shaken out of her rut her betrayal at the hands of her old crush and subsequent ambush. If it weren’t for Angel discovering the plot so soon it is unclear how his slayer would have survived.

Still to accuse Xander seemed over zealous. “Buffy, as hard as it might be for you to accept, this is a school. A place of learning and it is not unusual for someone Xanders age to have a change of heart about his future, especially after an event as traumatic as Halloween.”

Even as he finished he had to wince. Here he was lecturing his slayer about normality just as she was suiting up to go out and slay some vampires, ‘Giles old boy – talk about insensitive.’ He could tell from her stiff posture that she had been cut by his words. Xander distancing himself from the usual activities of the Scooby gang seemed to have hurt her more than he suspected.

“I understand, one girl thing, I remember,” Giles winced again at the sad smile on Buffy’s face as she turned around to face him. “It’s just that Xander has been with us since I arrived here you know. I never imagined him not sticking around especially when it seems we’ve been dumped for that troll Snyder. It’s unnatural.”

“I’m..” he started to apologise before being cut of by the young girl.

“Don’t,” she shook her head. “If I go now I’ll get some time in with Angel and still get some sleep before tomorrow.”

‘Such a hard life,’ he thought, his annoyance at the slayer vanishing as he once again wondering why the slayers always seemed to be called so young. Even when raised by the Council and prepared it was hard, and they usually didn’t survive long. Buffy had lasted longer than most and for that they had Xander to thank.

Even then, he was not surprised that the young man had decided that enough was enough and had seemingly gotten out before he was killed. While the survival rate of slayers averaged two years, an unenhanced human was far less and as deeply as he had been involved in the fight so far he truly had already bucked the odds.

It saddened him but he wasn’t surprised. Oh Xander still helped with the occasional research parties but he was no longer as actively involved in the slaying and as Buffy had commented earlier seemed to spend an unnatural amount of time with the principle.

“Unnatural, strange,” Giles murmured as he watched Buffy walk out of the library quietly with enough weapons to take down any number of vampiric nests. “Perhaps I was a little hasty at dismissing Buffy’s concerns and intuition after all anything strange and unnatural on the Hell Mouth bodes ill.”

“After all, the last time Xander spent time so much time with a teacher he was almost eaten.” Standing with another sigh Giles poured himself another cup of tea and resumed his reading on the Hell Mouth. Tomorrow he would try to find out why Xander was spending so much time with the principle and what he was doing.

After all, from what he knew of the Principle it was not like him to have such a drastic change of heart. Perhaps a little bit of activity would go someway to relieving the anxiety had felt since Halloween, just a little.

Harry walked cautiously into his base of operations. Even though CSE had assured him that the attack on the location of the Hell Mouth had been viciously put down, such precautions had saved his life numerous times - particularly when he had thought himself safe and invulnerable. The attack on his mind while he was alone on the bridge of the greatest human war cruiser ever built in the middle of a Minbari/Centuari skirmish merely two weeks ago was a case in point.

He had always been well above the curve in magical and, thanks to CSE, technological ability but sometimes that was not always enough. Remaining himself the day he had appeared in a muggle twentieth century Sunnydale had proved to be a challenge that he had never expected to face at his age and certainly it was not something he had faced before in his two centuries of life. It meant that he could still be surprised and ambushed.

Harry smiled, ‘life would be too boring otherwise. What’s life without constantly proving yourself stronger, smarter, superior,’ he thought. ‘Still, it means that I am not beyond the stage where I need not be careful.’

Flaring his magic in preparation for instantaneous conjuration of offensive or defensive screens and allowing a few million nanites to permeate the air around him searching for threats, Harry studied what had two weeks ago been a dank and mouldy cavern that surrounded the Hell Mouth, a mere hole in the ground.

Now that he had claimed it, the chamber had doubled in volume and the walls were coated with a crystalline sheen. Armour that would prove almost impenetrable with the current muggle technology, behind which Harry knew, lay the most advanced computing system that the earth would likely develop for centuries maybe even millennia. After all, he had stolen and adapted the schematics from the Minbari who had borrowed some principles from the Vorlon’s and the Vorlon’s they had been first ones.

Weapons embankments were hidden amongst the natural formations of the cavern, and even he would have missed a few of them had he not designed the chamber. The firepower in his operations centre was enough to destroy a small town but he doubted that he would need to use even a percentage of that firepower to defend his base. So far, its greatest defence was its relative secrecy. Attacks came after the Hell Mouth not a heavily fortified military base. Still, it was better to be prepared than not.

Right in the centre of the chamber was the Hell Mouth, a demonic portal to the Hell Dimension that he and CSE had not figured out how to open yet. ‘Or at least not in any controlled way’ he thought sourly. ‘There is not much point opening the portal in an uncontrolled way, that is a quick way to be bumped down the food chain and until CSE finishes restoring my fall capability I won’t be able to prevent it.’

“Once that happens though, I would like to see whether the rumours of the old ones are as accurate as they claim.” Harry chewed out to himself with a feral grin.

Where once the Hell Mouth had been a mere hole in the ground, now it was framed with the strongest alloy that CSE had been able to manufacture given her limited resources in both energy and manufacturing capability. It stood majestically in the centre of his base just waiting to be used in his plans. He wanted to be absolutely sure that nothing crept through in either direction without his knowledge and so the frame would be the last line of defence if there was a breech and as greater resources were freed up it would be continuously upgraded.

There had already been three attacks on his base since he had started to build it over the Hell Mouth two weeks ago and he expected such an event to be a common occurrence for some time. The first two attacks had been when he had been on site to boost the effectiveness of the incomplete defences but this latest he had been absent. He had figured that the defensive modules had been complete enough after the second attack to stand most assaults and he had other priorities.

It was doubtful at this stage that anything short of a heavily armed and equipped army could breach the defences as they stood and as he built up his available resources he would make the Hell Mouth inaccessible to all but his allies. As he walked up to a pair of vampires that hung limply from a wall, all that remained of the final attack, he doubted that the latest attack had been anywhere near a heavily armed battalion in strength.

“You got a SITREP for me CSE?” he asked the AI as he stepped closer to the limp vampires. The rage and the almost godlike healing and reanimation ability of the demon’s that inhabited the dead bodies of vampires never ceased to amaze and fascinate him. At first he had thought he might be able to use or learn something from these creatures but after careful and extensive magical and technological study, indexed and referenced by CSE superior computing power, he had come to the conclusion that they were too flawed. Too out of control and incompatible with his core.

The demonic possessors didn’t harness their madness and insanity for greatness, they were madness and insanity and they corrupted everything they touched. While they had the potential to be very very powerful, that source of power was too opposed to his own to be of any use without losing himself.

Harry watched with a smile as the remaining bodies were absorbed into the crystal wall, leaving no trace that they had ever existed and relished the screams of terror from the vampiric demons that tickled his magical senses as they were ripped apart and sent back to Hell. ‘No,’ he thought ‘not quite useless. The bodies they inhabit are a terrific source of energy when molecularly broken down and that is one resource I am very low on.’

“The latest attack consisted of eight fledglings and three masters no less than seventy years old, Harry. There were no survivors and all attempted communication was intercepted and destroyed. It seems illogical that despite the fact that the demonic denizens of this muggle town seem to lack the ability to open or use the energy being emitted from the Hell Mouth, attempts are still made to capture this place. It is apparent that there is a prestige attached to the control of the Hell Mouth.”

“Further, upgrades and rebuilding of the lost data that resulted from your transition to this dimension are being impaired by lack of energy sources, from an analysis of risks and benefits I would suggest the construction of a series of small fusion generators to expand your operations.”

‘Yes,’ he thought, agreeing with CSE analysis ‘fusion generators would be ideal at this stage of rebuilding. They are easy to build and maintain and easily interfaced with the current level of technology. On the off chance of a breach, the resulting explosion and contamination would be easily contained with the alloys that we are synthesising and the energy source would be unlikely to interact adversely with the mystical energies of the Hell Mouth.’

‘Harnessing the power of a localised quantum singularity, while far superior to the primitive fusion reactors, would be much harder to interface with local technology in the short term and who knows how it will react to the causality effects of the Hell Mouth. Besides’ he thought with an annoyed grunt ‘I lack the man power and technical expertise to maintain such a powerful energy generator. Even an AI of CSE power and capabilities is not intuitive enough to solve all my man power problems’

Harry sighed as he collapsed in a chair that appeared in front of display on the wall. After two weeks, where he had essentially been required to restart his life and rebuild the resources he had begun to take for granted from scratch and he had started approaching the time where he had regained just enough of his former resources that he needed to make a move towards his more complicated power plays.

He could not forget the epic battles that were being fought in this region of space in his time and universe, nor could he overlook the demonic threat that apparently plagued this world. From what he had seen from muggle society to date, he was just as likely to be eliminated with the rest of them and that was unacceptable.

Demons. It still amazed him, the variety of species and powers that inhabited the several neighbouring and accessible dimensions to the one he now found himself on. He often wondered what would have become of his world had they existed there? But they had not and this new universe he found himself in even had different galactic and planetary positions. Something that made him wonder if the alien threats that exited in this time where greater or lesser than the one he had already faced and triumphed over.

Regardless, he did not doubt that such threats existed. Yet, despite his frantic rebuilding and hording of resources, and determination not to be taken down with the rest of the primitive and evolutionary inferior muggle society by the threats that surrounded them, he had never been so alone and cut off from allies.

All of his searching and research into other magic users had revealed a simple fact. None existed and those that did, were little better than squibs with the way that they ‘channelled’ the magic of greater powers to their will. He had thought to approach these greater powers but he could not forget the almost callous way in which he was attacked by such a channeller on Halloween.

Any power that allowed his magic to be used in such a trivial manner deserved none of his respect. They were worse than muggles in his eyes and he had proven his superiority over that evolutionary inferior sub-branch of humanity a century before.

No, from what he had been able to deduce from his own research, magic use had been exterminated from this world by an alliance of demons and humans. The two warring groups who had momentarily declared a time out while they had exterminated his people, once that had happened they had resumed their bloody conflict. Madness and insanity, it seemed, had been a match where technology and cunning had not.

He didn’t feel too disgruntled by that fact. After all, the possessed demonic energy acted almost like a magical core and from the fragmented references of that time, he had little sympathy for there fate. They had proven inferior where the society he had built had not when faced by its own threats.

Even so, no wizarding society meant that it was impractical for him to release the magical retrovirus that he had released on his former home world in order to quickly grasp control and shape the world in preparation for a rapid expansion onto the galactic stage. Giving every newborn a magical core without first creating the institutions to manage and cope with the sudden evolutionary change would cause more damage and problems than it would solve.

No, definitely not something he wanted to do in the short term. The stupid muggles would likely either wipe themselves out or send themselves back to the Stone Age and as funny as it would be to watch, it was not something he could afford to do until all other threats to humanity had been erased. Likewise with any plot to destroy institutions or infrastructure would be worse than useless.

Flicking through the data that CSE had managed to accumulate on the technological and cultural state of the muggle world at this time Harry grunted in frustration. No wizarding world, a few squibs, demonic creatures and a complacent muggle society that he could have destroyed at his weakest. Then there was the threat of whoever lay beyond human space and he had found few indications that any branch of the muggle society was aware of the magnitude of the threat. Pathetic.

It was something he would need to investigate sometime soon.

“CSE, go ahead with the generators. Build plenty of spare capacity; I have had enough of sitting around waiting for this weak muggle body to become what mine once was and I have a feeling that I don’t have time to either. I will change this world as surely as I changed the last, magic or no magic and the muggles will heel or die.” He commanded as he stalked out thinking. The first thing he needed to do was to create an image and he couldn’t help but laugh at the irony at two centuries on being in a similar place as his old arch rival lord Voldemort.

It was something he had already started. A few memory charms and the headmaster of his local school had been more than willing to cover his absences from school while he occupied himself with more useful pursuits. Even Xanders closest group of friends hadn’t been too suspicious when he had distanced himself from their slaying activity. His new favourite principal had allayed their most obvious concerns and his change in personality had been confused with an imbalance of hormones. It really was a sad indictment of the expertise of the warriors currently fighting their little war with the demonic plane when his expertise was confused with puberty.

Oh, they had the usual Hell Mouth paranoia but he had covered his tracks and he had not cut himself off completely. The Slayer seemed to be a key figure in the war against the demon population and would eventually prove a valuable asset in any attempt to penetrate the mysterious and politically powerful watchers council.

Even then, she was only a small player and replaceable. After all, a lesson he had learnt early in his life was that one person, no matter how powerful and cunning, could not fight a war by themselves. It required combat and supply support teams, appropriate political structures and above all it needed the backing of the population at large.

This meant that ultimately the Slayer was only a soldier, a grunt and if he were to grasp control of the fight and move it towards victory in his name for his own purposes then the slayer meant very little. Even if she were killed, another one would be called to replace her – it was a perfect system and one that seemed to encourage a high turnover in slayers.

Somehow, he had never expected such a devious plan to exist amongst the decadent muggle civilization. He approved at their deviousness and cold-bloodedness, it was an ultimate controlling mechanism but even that plan held flaws that even the most junior tactician could have pointed out.

It made him wonder who was fighting this war and why they hadn’t lost a long time ago. Particularly when the primitive muggle population was fighting on more than one fronts, fronts that they were blind too. In such a situation it became more critical that all these components became even more aligned and overseen by competent, loyal and experienced personnel. It is why he had played to his title of Boy-Who-Lived and later when he founded the Order of the Lightening and had ruthlessly embedded its position in the political landscape.

When the opportunity came to restructure society to his will, he had grasped it with both hands and founded a new system that had seen wizarding society see off and demolish threats older, larger and often more powerful than they were. But he had done so from the ashes of the old system and here and now, nothing even remotely resembling it existed. He would have to move slowly and carefully to embed the changes he wanted to see, but not too quickly.

Still, it would prove embarrassing if he, as powerful as he was, were to be brought down by some two bit dictator that held the resources of several star systems. Something that was just as likely to happen as not if he was not fast enough and if it required him to reshape the muggle world then he would make sure he was at the top. ‘It was only appropriate,’ he thought with an evil grin. He was there evolutionary superior after all.

‘The first step will be to resurrect my order,’ he thought leaving the school grounds subconsciously laughing at the symbolism of placing a high school over a dimensional portal to hell. It was almost poetic. ‘And then ruthlessly embedding their power into the muggle ethos, But how? There is no wizarding world, randomly kidnapping infants seems inefficient and binding muggles to his will a wasteful investment of resources.’

‘In fact, loyalty of any genuine nature may well come only after I have established myself. A catch 22 of the most annoying kind.’

“Harry, I have detected target black one on the outskirts of the city graveyard,” announced CSE and disrupting his thoughts on world domination. Still the presence of the channellor gave him an idea about how to proceed with the rebuilding of his order. As much as he disliked sharing power and even more so lending others his own, if he granted an elite unit access to a fraction of his core then their effectiveness on this magicless world would be greatly increased.

It was an idea for the future, though his magical core was years away from being strong enough for something like that even if he knew how to go about it. Finding out meant capturing a channellor and target black alpha was closest which meant that despite his feelings of bloodlust would go unfulfilled, for now. He needed the man alive but that still gave him plenty of opportunities to direct some very pointed and painful questions to the man

The challenge of proving his superiority over an alternate universe inhabited by primitive muggles and alien civilizations of unknown power aside, he would never forgive the channellor for involuntarily tearing him from his power base. With nothing better to do at that moment he approached the man that CSE was tracking.

Taking the most direct route to the man through the graveyard that boarded the high school, Harry continued to track the chaos mage. “CSE, would it be possible for others to channel a fraction of my power as the squibs of this word seem to do for other powers?” Even if it was an idea for the future it was an interesting question that could be considered.

“It is not an area that I have investigated or even found much information on since everyone from your home universe contained magical cores.” Replied CSE from beside him, “nor is it something I recommend in the short term since your own core is the weakest it has been in over one hundred and fifty years.” He nodded, it was a conclusion he had already come to.

“However it is something I will investigate further, giving others your ability to affect causality so strongly would be a major advantage.” Harry did not have to be told that it would be relatively low on his AI’s priority list of tasks however, it is why he wanted to capture the chaos mage that brought him here, to satisfy his curiosity, potentially spread his influence and teach him never to cross him again by talking a very bloody revenge. It was a lesson that few survived.

“Harry, I am detecting a fight in progress to your right. It is the slayer and her vampire companion. There position is being over run by a small group of Skilosh demons. Current calculations indicate that the chances of survival are negligible.”

Snarling in the direction of the retreating chaos mage, Harry ran to the fight between the Skilosh demons and the slayer. As minor an asset as the slayer was, considering another would be called if she were killed, and as despicably weak he felt that her vampire companion was for a 240 year old being – he could not allow them to die yet. Even if another was called, he could not guarantee that they would be sent to Sunnydale and his control did not spread much further yet. Such influence over the slayer was critical to his plans.

Ethan Ryan, the chaos mage would have to wait.

Disillusioning himself and silencing his feet, Harry approached the fight with stealthy interest. He had often heard and read what a legendary fighter a Slayer proved to be when pushed and he had not yet seen her vampire companion go all out. With Buffy and her paramour Angel being over run by a numerically superior enemy he expected to see a fight that would both entertain him and show him the full capabilities of the two most powerful light fighters in Sunnydale.

The sound of a tombstone smashing as a Skilosh demon threw the teenage blond through it and the sight of another three Skilosh Demons bum rushing the ancient vampire masked his disappointment. This was no fight, no skirmish between humanity and its enemies; in fact it was barely a brawl. Neither side showed any sign of knowing or using small group tactics, innovative use of their surroundings or demonstrated any sign of situational awareness. In fact they had made no effort to stay close together and draw on each others strengths as the demons quickly separated then and continued taking them apart.

Weaponry not much removed from the muggle Stone Age was used by both sides and no body amour was seen between them except for the naturally tough skin of the Skilosh demons, any stock he held about the legendary status of the slayer, the main foot soldier against the darkness, was dashed. His poor view of the vampire was merely vindicated. It seemed that the slayer was little more than a child who had gained a few enhancements but had not trained them to their potential and who held little concept of the position and responsibilities she held. It was a disgraceful display.

Harry curled his lip in distaste as he watched Angel easily sidelined from the fight and the slayer firmly pinned to an undamaged crypt. He carefully noted the external signs of numerous dislocations and broken bones as she broke out of their demonic grip and continued to fight them on their own ground. Refusing to make even a tactical retreat in her berserker state.

What followed was the worst example of combat he had seen by anyone in his life, even going back to his schooling years. He watched disgustedly as Buffy barely managed to embed a war axe into the skull of one demon before being beaten to an inch of her life. The vampire was only doing better because of the demonic energies that flooded his body, even then he struggled to take out another two before the Skilosh pressed their advantage with fists and overpowered kicks.

Even when facing death, the slayer had proved useless and uninnovative in combat. It made him miss his highly trained Order even more as he watched what amounted to little more than a lethal slug fest. Neither seemed to be learning or adapting to the tactics of the enemies and by watching them he could only agree with CSE assessment of the fight and the Slayer’s chances of surviving this fight. He and any of the warriors he had trained would have put the clumsy demons down in five seconds, and put them down HARD.

Still he would not see her die just yet. She may still have a place in his plans and it would prove a perfect time to enhance the image he was creating in the demon community. He had long since decided to favour the symbol of a Cerberus, lethal, powerful and multi-headed and he would not change that now, after tonight he had a feeling that his reputation would balloon enormously.

A quick flick of his wrist and created an illusion of a giant Cerberus in the sky above the graveyard and the air surrounding the Skilosh demons flooded with CSE’s attack drones. They would, he knew, pass through what ever passed for skin or armour of the demons bodies and dismantle them – painfully, all the while transmitting the latest physiological data and capability information from their decaying bodies.

“The holder!!” the demons shouted in horror as they attempted to flee but it was far too late as the three heads of the Cerberus roared loudly into the sky and it’s tail flickered ominously a sure sign that his nanites had already invaded what passed for a brain stem within the demons bodies.

All but one of the Skilosh demons would be dead before they reached the boundaries of the graveyard and the information collected by CSE drones would add to his growing database of the different demonic species he would be facing when he stepped out of the shadows and launch a full scale counter strike into the different demonic dimensions. Capturing their resources for his own purposes. Fighting a war against alien threats while there remained a demonic one at home was a quick way to extinction.

The remaining demon would flee and spread the news of the ‘Holder of the Hell Mouth’ to his demonic buddies, along with word of his stealthy and vicious kills. His reputation would continue to grow and he hoped, attract greater challenges to the area. Better that his foes came to him and fought him on his ground rather than there’s. There would be time for that later.

“CSE, locate target black alpha?” Harry asked as he allowed his disillusions and stealth spells to drop causing him to appear next to the mangled bodies of the slayer and her vampiric companion. The fight had not been nearly as entertaining as he had hoped but he hoped that he would still be able to catch up to the chaos mage.

“Target has moved into the central residential district.” In vein. ‘There is always next time,’ he thought grimly as he grabbed hold of the injured and unconscious bodies of the slayer and her companion and apperated to a small flat he had acquired from a newly deceased homeowner that had not known not to invite in salesmen after dark. ‘I’m saving it up and when I catch up to you there will just be more interest.’

Dumping the vampire in the corner, Harry began to splint and bandage Buffy’s more serious wounds. Her slayer healing would take care of the worst of her injuries by morning and the smallest amount of first aid would ensure she healed without complications. His actions would also help allay any suspicions the slayer or her watcher may have continued to have. “Besides” he chuckled “a crippled slayer wouldn’t be much good to anyone least of all to me.”

The Sunnydale morgue had seen more action than most. The dead had poured in from animal attacks, home invasions and even open gang warfare. For such a small population, Sunnydale had an alarmingly high mortality rate.

It was this statistical blip that encouraged a self imposed curfew on the citizens of Sunnydale and discouraged tourists. So it was unusual that Phillip Henry had not only bucked this trend by visiting but by visiting after dark. It had also led to his death.

Still, it would surprise no one that really knew what was behind the statistics when Phillip Henry casually slid the sheet covering his naked body and sat up, eyes glinting in the sterile light and a strange tattoo glowing darkly against his pale skin.

CSE danced with amusement among the different technological servers that provided the backbone for all the increasingly integrated information systems that the muggle society had become reliant on. The amount of information that was archived, indexed and referenced was inefficiently stored and poorly encrypted.

It amused her, being able to access so much of the industrial and governmental infrastructure of what this primitive society called the developed world. She laughingly broke the mere 256 bit encryptions that held the military and parliamentary corruption secrets of some of the oldest governments that muggle society had to offer. Only the systems that were carefully and securely disconnected from the main backbones were safe from her scrutiny – for now.

Computing had advanced enormously with the capture of a Centauri war cruiser and as her host had manipulated conflicts throughout known space and led the wizarding world to heady heights of power, it had advanced even further. That was in another universe but all the computing knowledge and advances were still with her and the capacity she once had, though diminished was being rebuilt.

Such a primitive and poorly defended system that existed in this universe, in this time was pathetically easy to break and manipulate. Muggles held such faith in technology, it was almost as strong as wizards had once held for magic. Her host had quickly broken them of their foolish pride.

Machine she may be and although she may not be able to understand emotions as organics could. She had spent an eternity, as she measured time, integrated within her host and so could emulate emotions most familiar to her and her host. Amusement at the inferiority of enemies was a common emotion.

Quickly mapping out what she needed and at times reprogramming machine code to create access points, CSE created an entire history for a Harry Alexander Potter. Bank accounts were filled, passports and drivers licences were ordered and some stocks were bought based on what CSE knew of Harry’s plans.

Property changed hands and files were created detailing a past life and education. Birth and death certificates were created for a family that didn’t exist before CSE had created them. Paperwork was printed in triplicate and labelled for storage, no one would be able to tell that Harry Potter was not born and raised on US soil. It was doubtful that any query would ever be raised about his newly created family history.

It was just the first step to shape this universe as he had the last and he would let no-one stand in his way, just as he had in the last.
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