Disclaimer: I do not own either Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Harry Potter, nor do I make any profit on this story. The prophecy quoted later in this chapter is taken directly from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
“Good Harry!” Buffy shouted as she and her pupil sparred. “Keep your guard up!” She feinted to one side, then, when he turned to follow her, danced around behind him to deliver a stinging swat to his backside with her wooden practice sword. “Pay attention! My own daughter wouldn’t have fallen for that trick.”
“Yes, but your daughter has been learning sword work for a few years longer than I have.” Harry gasped, struggling to keep up with Buffy.
“That’s no excuse. Stop concentrating on your feet and your sword. I’ve drilled you enough that those movements should be second nature to you.” A few quick moves more and she had Harry disarmed and flat on his back. He groaned and Buffy grinned. “Learn faster and you’ll have less bruises. Victoria! Your turn.”
Harry staggered to a bench where Sirius waited with a towel, water, and an amused smirk. “’Learn faster’ she says,” he griped and gulped the water. “The day I become a master swordsman, she’ll still be saying, ‘learn faster’. She’s sadistic. I can’t believe she’s subjecting her own daughter to this. The poor girl won’t last long that’s for sure.”
“You might want to turn around,” Sirius said quietly. Harry did so and his jaw dropped. The little eight year old was doing an admirable job of keeping up with her mother. She performed amazing acrobatics and then Buffy feinted exactly as she had with Harry. To his immense chagrin, not only did she not fall for the trick, but she actually managed to score a “hit” on the slayer.
“How? How did she do that?!” Harry gaped. “She’s only eight. You let her get that hit!”
“She did not!” Victoria shouted indignantly.
Buffy laughed. “I may hit less hard because of her age Harry, but I assure you that I did not let her score on me. She has been training for the last two years. In two years, you will be just as good as she is. You’re actually doing very well for just learning physical combat. Don’t get too discouraged.”
“Thanks,” Harry smiled. Buffy wasn’t quick to praise so to him that was a high compliment.
“Hey Harry, want to spar with me?” Victoria asked sweetly.
He backed away slowly. “Ah, not right now Vicky, ok? Your Mum kind of wore me out.” Sirius snorted.
“Don’t want to get your arse handed to you by an eight year old you mean Harry?”
“Watch it Mr. Black or I might just take you on as a student too.” Buffy grinned at him as she toweled her sweaty hair dry.
“I would love to Mrs. Snape, but there’s an Order Meeting here in a few minutes. Another time maybe?” Despite his bravado, Harry could detect a faint flicker of fear in his godfather’s eyes. Buffy could too and she smirked at him.
“Well, you’re safe for now I suppose. Vicky, honey, I’m sorry to take off again like this. Can you find your sister and take care of Will for me for a little bit? We won’t be very long.”
“Sure Mom. Don’t worry about us. We’ve watched Will for a while before. Maybe we’ll go see if Daddy is awake yet.”
“Victoria Snape, you leave your father alone.” Buffy ordered her daughter sternly. “He needs his rest. He will wake up when he is ready.”
“I know Mom. I’ll leave him alone,” Victoria sighed and stomped out of the room.
“Temperamental, isn’t she?” Sirius commented.
“I think she gets it from her father,” Buffy laughed. “Let’s get to that meeting. Coming Harry?” Buffy beckoned her student.
“Huh? I can’t go to the meeting. Professor Dumbledore won’t let me.”
Buffy glared. “Oh yes, he will. This nonsense of keeping you in the dark is going to stop this instant.” She marched him down the hall to the meeting room slash kitchen. Several heads looked up.
“Buffy. Welcome.” Albus smiled at them. “Harry, you go on upstairs until the meeting is finished.
Harry’s shoulders slumped and he turned to go, but Buffy grabbed his arm. “Sit,” she ordered.
“What is the meaning of this?” Moody barked.
Buffy glared at him but then turned her attention to Dumbledore. “Who is the one person that Voldemort is obsessed with killing? Harry. Who is this damn prophecy you are basing this whole war on about? Again, Harry. Who has visions concerning Voldemort and can give more information about said war that even Severus can? Gee, I wonder, could it be Harry?” The sarcasm dripped from her voice. “According to that damn prophecy, Harry is the only one who can defeat Voldemort. And your grand plan is to not tell him anything about the war effort so that he can be safe? How safe is he when he has no clue what is going on? He’ll just go himself to find the information and then get himself into more trouble than he was in before. Are you all trying to get your savior killed?”
“Umm, what prophecy?” Harry asked.
Buffy stared. “You haven’t even told him that much? Albus Dumbledore, how can you possible think that is a good idea?”
“He’s just a child.” Molly Weasley interjected. “He’s not supposed to be dealing with things of this nature. He should be concentrating on normal things teenagers do.”
“He should be concentrating on staying alive,” Buffy stated bluntly. “No he’s not supposed to be dealing with these things. I agree with you there. In a better world he would be able to just be a boy and do those teenager things. But it’s not a better world is it? There is a maniac wizard out there whose main goal in life is to kill Harry. Harry needs to be properly informed on everything that is going on. Can’t you people see that keeping this information from him is making things worse for him?” Buffy ceased her ranting and collapsed in a chair, breathing heavily.
“Buffy is right.” Harry said quietly. “Every time something concerning Voldemort has occurred, I have been involved somehow. The Sorcerer’s Stone, the Chamber of Secrets, and the whole Goblet of Fire fiasco. Even the stuff regarding Sirius in my third year you all kept from me. If Mr. Weasley hadn’t decided to tell me why Sirius was supposedly after me, I wouldn’t have had a clue what was going on. I get these visions from Voldemort and I have this connection through this scar to him. I don’t understand why. I’m confused and scared and most of all very, very frustrated. You know the answers I seek and I need to know those answers sir.”
Silence fell on the group. The order all looked pensive. Buffy smiled encouragingly at Harry for speaking up. Dumbledore looked old and tired, his twinkling eyes dimmed. “I’m sorry Harry. I just wanted to protect you. You are so young to have this burden placed upon you.”
“Yes he is young Albus,” Buffy said quietly. “And no, it’s not fair. But he needs to know. I tried to keep my sister from the dangers of my world by keeping her cooped up and ignorant of what I did. She came very close to hating me for that. We became close because I explained what it was that I did and showed her the dangers.”
“What do you mean, ‘your world’?” Tonks spoke up. “Who are you anyway?”
Dumbledore grinned. “Ladies and Gentlemen, I am please to finally introduce you to Mrs. Buffy Snape, a vampire slayer and the wife of our own Severus Snape.” In the shocked silence that followed, he said, “And you are right Buffy. Harry, as soon as Miss Rosenberg joins us, I will explain everything to you. I am sorry I haven’t done so before now.”
“It’s all right sir. You’re telling me now and that’s all that matters.”
“Mrs. Snape?” Tonks said shakily. “Is that even possible?”
“Didn’t think it was,” Moody answered, dazed.
“Why weren’t we told about this?” Arabella Figg piped up.
“Sev was keeping us a secret from Voldemort, that’s why. No one but Albus knew we existed. We’re the reason he turned from the monster in the first place.” Buffy answered.
“We?” Moody questioned.
“Me and our three children.” A crash on the floor heralded Tonks’ dead faint. “Oh, honestly, is it so difficult to believe that Severus can marry and have children? This is utterly ridiculous people. Can we concentrate on the important stuff? Like prophecies and certain dark wizards?”
“Of course Buffy,” Albus conceded with a smile. “Where is Willow?”
“Here.” The redhead answered from the doorway. “Sorry, I had a few things to settle before I got here. Severus wake up yet?”
Buffy sighed. “No not yet. Albus says that until his magical core has fully healed, he will remain asleep. I was so hoping that the strength the children and I gave him would have helped.”
“I’m sure it did Buffy. He just lost so much. It’s a lot to repair.” The redhead looked around the room, smiling to see Harry taking a seat at the table. “Let me guess, Buffy yelled at them to get you in huh?” Harry nodded ruefully while Willow laughed. She turned to face the assembled order. “Hi, I’m Willow Rosenburg. I’m a friend of Buffy’s and a witch. I’m here to help.” She sat down next to her friend.
Albus smiled. “Willow is somewhat understating her abilities as an extremely powerful Wicca who gave Voldemort a difficult time when they met.”
Willow smirked. “I just wonder how long it took him to recover from that blast I sent him. He was still out of it when we rescued Severus.” She completely ignored the incredulous and disbelieving looks sent her way. “So, care to tell us what is going on?”
“I believe we should start with the prophecy that refers to Harry and fill him in on what we have done so far with regards to the war effort.” Dumbledore turned to Harry. “Just before your parents were killed Harry, Professor Trelawny gave one of her very few accurate prophecies regarding you and Voldemort. Voldemort learned of it and attacked you family because of it.”
“What did the prophecy say?” Harry asked, a worried frown creasing his face.
“Basically what it amounts to is that Voldemort would mark you as his equal and that you would be the only one who would be able to kill him.” Harry’s shoulders slumped and he drew in a deep breath.
“No.” Buffy interjected before Harry could begin to panic. All eyes turned to her. “That is not the prophecy. That is what you have decided the prophecy means. Prophecies are absolutely tricky things and can have a way of making you look in one direction when you should be going the other. The actual words Albus, please.” She glared at the headmaster.
“Very well. Although I don’t see how it will change anything.” He cleared his throat. “The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches. Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies. And the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not. And either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives. The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies.”
Buffy and Willow exchanged glances. “That’s it? That’s what you are basing this whole thing on? That’s ridiculous.
“Buffy,” Harry’s voice was quiet, his face pale. “it seems pretty straightforward to me. Looks like I am the only one who can kill Voldemort.”
“Not necessarily.” Willow replied. “On the surface, yes it looks that way.” She looked at Dumbledore. “I hate prophecies. They are so nebulous. So many variables that could mean so very many things. Especially since they don’t even name names. It just says the Dark Lord. Voldemort? Maybe. It could very well refer to another Dark Lord in the future. Born on the seventh month, okay, pretty clear there. But what year? We don’t know for sure if Harry’s scar is the mark as his equal. And the phrase ‘either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives.’ Who’s the other? Could be talking about Harry, could be someone or something for all we know. By trying to force the prophecy the way you want it to go, the more it will go another way.
“I should know.” Buffy interjected. “There have been so many prophecies about me that I’ve lost count. They are annoying little bits of useless knowledge that never make sense until they actually come to pass.”
“You’ve had prophecies about you?” Moody asked skeptically.
“Yep. There was one prophecy that told me I had to face the Master, a very nasty vampire. He was trying to break free of a prison he had been trapped in for a very long time.”
“I believe I heard mention of this Master somewhere,” Lupin commented. Very old, very ancient vampire right?”
“He was. The prophecy also said that if I faced him I would die.”
“So you didn’t go?” Harry asked somberly.
“I did go.” Shocked gazes turned her way.
“You don’t look dead.” Tonks said.
“Yeah, I make a good looking corpse, don’t I?” Buffy laughed. “I really did die though. The vampire got hold of me and drained until I was unconscious and then threw me in a pool of water. I drowned and was for all intents and purposes dead for several minutes until my friend rescued me and resuscitated me. The prophecy came true then. I did actually die and went and took him out. But the prophecy never mentioned that. The prophecy also did not mention that if I had just stayed put, he wouldn’t have been able to break out of his prison in the first place. My blood gave him the strength to get out.”
“Wow.” Tonks said.
“I never thought of it that way,” Dumbledore said thoughtfully.
“What do we do now?” Harry asked.
Buffy shrugged. “We go with what we know. We know that what little of the prophecy Voldemort knows is causing him to target you. We continue to train him as best as possible and look at other ways to fight this guy and look for weaknesses. Just like you do in every war.”
“That is all we can do really.” Dumbledore said softly. “We have had various reports of Death Eater raids and plans for more. We should concentrate on that for now and see where it goes.”
“Wait a minute.” Harry asked. “What about the ‘power the Dark Lord knows not.’ What do you think it could mean?”
“I always thought that it meant your ability to love Harry, which is something he does not know.”
“What makes you think that?” Willow wanted to know.
“Mostly because of the way Harry survived the killing curse. His mother sacrificed herself to save him and that selfless love caused the curse to backfire.”
“Albus, I love you, you know I do,” Buffy spoke quietly. “You are a great wizard and a wonderful Uncle to my children. But sometimes you do have your blind spots.”
Moody growled. “Little girl I am just about fed up with your attitude. Albus Dumbledore is a great wizard with years more experience and magical power than you possibly could. Hold your tongue.”
Buffy bristled. “I never said he wasn’t a great wizard. But just because he is one, does not mean that I am going to blindly follow his every order and idea just because it comes from him. And do not call me a little girl!”
“Buffy, Alastor, please calm down.” Dumbledore sighed. “Alastor I trust Buffy with my life. And in some ways she has more experience that I do in many areas. Buffy, please, what are your thoughts on this matter. Obviously you don’t think love is this power. So what do you think?”
She shrugged. “How many mothers die to protect their children every year? And how many of those protected children have curses bounce off of them because of it? Personally I don’t think the curse bounced off of him in the first place. I think Harry got a slightly less strong curse sent his direction because her mother threw herself in it’s path but…”
“Soul magic!” Willow shouted suddenly, bouncing in her seat.
“Pardon me?” Albus asked.
“That has to be it! Has to be. He’d be strong enough to do it, surely. It all makes sense. Oh, but if he did? How could he have done it so many times to cause a reaction like that? And where did he figure out how to do it? It’s one of the most obscure branches of magic ever.” The redhead babbled on until Buffy placed a hand over her mouth to stop the flow of excited words.
“Want to start over and explain? Slowly?” Buffy asked, an amused eyebrow raised.
Willow looked around and blushed, seeing the many perplexed faces watching her. “Sorry,” she muttered. She turned to Harry. “You have a connection to Voldemore right? You can sometimes hear him and get visions of what he is doing?” Harry nodded. “And you speak some kind of snake language that no one in your family has a history of, but Voldemort does?” Again, Harry nodded. “And when you faced the possessed Quirrell in your first year, he disintegrated when you touched him?” Once more Harry nodded, feeling like a marionette. “Soul magic.” Willow stated firmly as if that explained everything.
“What is soul magic?” Harry asked.
“A very old, very dark branch of magic. I first learned about it when I had to perform a spell to restore a friend’s soul. Long story there that I won’t get into now. After doing the spell, I began to research more about it in case I came across a similar situation again. Soul magic is the ability to manipulate one’s soul. Just as you can restore a person’s soul if necessary, you can destroy it as well. Or split it. I believe that Voldemort came across this magic as a means of immortality and split his soul. You can’t actually die unless you have all the pieces of the soul with you. However, the more you split your soul, the more unstable you become. I would be willing to bet anything that he decided to split his soul several times.”
“Horcruxes,” Dumbledore said hoarsely. All the older members’ faces had gone ashen. “We call them horcruxes. The darkest magic of our world.”
Willow nodded. “It’s not fun stuff to play with. If you split your soul enough, there isn’t enough left to house a body. I think that when the spell bounced off Harry’s mother and onto Harry, that he unwittingly created another of these - Horcruxes you say?” At Dumbledore’s nod, Willow continued. “But by that point he had probably split himself so many times that there was nothing left and he was destroyed at that point until he could regain a body strong enough to house what little was left of his soul.”
“Damn Will, did you have to think of that?” Buffy asked. “This is not a pleasant thought. It does make sense though.
“Wait!” Harry cried. “You think I have a piece of Voldemort’s soul in me?” His voice cracked and he looked on the verge of a breakdown. He began shaking. Buffy ran to him and folded him in his arms.
“I think so,” Willow said softly.
“Get it out!” Molly shrieked. “Get that thing out of him then.”
“Easier said than done,” Willow said. “There are ways it could be done, but none of them safe or easy. It will take some careful research and monitoring to determine exactly how many pieces Voldemort created. It’s possible I can create a spell that will pull all the pieces together. The soul doesn’t like to be pulled apart and will try to reconnect itself if possible. That’s why Quirrell disintegrated when he touched you. He was possessed by Voldemort at the time and the piece of soul in you wanted to rejoin its owner, but it didn’t have a body to go into and fought with Quirrell’s to get in.”
“I don’t think the piece of soul is having an adverse effect on you Harry,” Buffy said soothingly. “It has given you a few extra abilities but has not effected your personality. Right?” she asked Willow.
“Right.” Willow said firmly. “And I will see what I can do about getting rid of it as soon as possible.”
Dumbledore rose and addressed the Order. “This is why I wanted these two to join us. Both of them have resources and experience in different magics than we have. We will work in this direction and see what can be done. Meanwhile you all have your own tasks in recruiting and planning.” He smiled at the girls. “It is entirely possible that the power that the Dark Lord knows not is you and your people. I know that Voldemort knows nothing about the many slayers running around and that that is a heavy arsenal to have on hand. Thank you for opening our eyes.”
Buffy smiled and then caught her breath as she heard the door open and a familiar scent of spices and musk hit her nostrils. The members of the order went quiet. She sat still and rigid in her chair and only relaxed as a long fingered hand rested gently on her shoulder. Carefully she reached up her own hand and rested it on his.
“You’re awake,” she whispered, closing her eyes as she felt his robes settle around her. She sighed happily and relaxed completely for the first time since arriving at Grimmauld Place. Here was her home, her comfort, and her joy at last awake and aware and with her once more.
“Such an astute observation,” Severus’ sneering voice came to her, but with a soft and gentle tone few had ever heard coming from him. “Any other brilliant deductions my dear?”
“You’re awake!” she squealed suddenly and turned around to throw herself in his arms. Reaction to everything that had happened in the last few weeks settled in as she clung to him, shaking.
“Easy now,” he murmured against her hair. “All is well and I am fine thanks to you my love.” Tears stung her eyes as he gently lifted her chin to gaze at her with those deep black orbs that had so caught her attention when they first met. He kissed her softly, oblivious to avid stares from the others in the room. “I am all right,” he promised.
She laughed and turned in his arms. “He’s awake!” she said brightly to the gaping group.
Dumbledore laughed. “So I see, so I see. Now why don’t you take him to see your lovely children since this meeting is now concluded? They have been most anxious about you.”
“They are here?” Severus asked startled.
“Yep,” Buffy said happily. “Your cover was blown anyway so I figured the best place for them was here.
“Well?” he asked, stepping back and holding his arm out. “Shall we?” He smiled the small smile he reserved just for her and the children.
“Yes, of course.” Buffy said gaily. “You can also take the time to scold your daughter. Victoria decided it would be a good idea to take on a vampire alone with only a borrowed wand and an incendio!”
“Indeed? How strong was the spell do you think?”
“Severus Snape we are not condoning this!” As the door shut behind them, every member of the Order of the Phoenix heard a sound they never even though possible. At least not possible coming from the surly potions master. A hearty, boisterous laugh.
Tonks whimpered. “I didn’t know he even knew how to laugh.”