The not so long yet lost uncle
DISCLAIMER: Neither Harry Potter nor Buffy the Vampire Slayer belong to me. I only own the plot.
THE TRUTH WITHIN
There was a knock on her door. She looked at the door as if it were playing a joke on her. The door was knocked on again. Buffy then thought it might be her mother, maybe the order was trying to make an undercover mission and her mother had been assigned to it. She felt almost the need of giggling for her foolishness and she opened the door quickly.
But it wasn’t her mother. Severus Snape, more known as the not-so-long-but-surely-lost uncle stood with a serious expression on his brow. Buffy swallowed hard, but she didn’t feel her legs failing her as they had the last couple of days.
“Where is my mom?” Buffy asked. She prepared for the worst.
“She’s at Saint Mungo’s Hospital for the Magical Maladies and Injuries,” Severus answered. Buffy felt a lump at her throat.
“Hospital?” She mouthed.
“She fainted at Diagon Alley when she was going to the Parlor to meet you,” Severus elaborated. “The Medi Wizards, when they didn’t find any trace of identification, brought her to Saint Mungus. Apparently they could not find any Ava Papillon in their records. Old Mrs. Longbottom recognized your mother even with the spells on her. After all, your mother taught Alice almost everything she new of disguises…. Joy has a signature that I hope no one else noticed. Mrs. Longbottom told Dumbledore and thereford we know she is safe,” Severus Snape was babblering. He had been sent to comfort the child, and he could find no other way but to spit out information. He hadn’t been taught of how to express “comfort”. Joy was the one with the emotional package; she always seemed to know the perfect way of communicating. So unlike Severus. So unlike their mother. It seemed that Joy only had trouble communicating to her daughter. The irony of the situation.
“Can you take this off?” Buffy asked suddenly pointing at her still curled and red head.
“I’m afraid not,” Severus said shaking his head. “Only Joy can do it fast, quick and painless,” At this the girl’s eyes widened. He smirked. “Dumbledore could too I suppose, but I’m not sure he’ll be coming anytime soon.”
“And this Alice person… doesn’t she know how…?” Buffy muttered but stopped at the sight of her uncle’s eyebrows down in pity for once.
“She’s not in the best shape to do it,” He replied politely.
“Oh,” She said disappointed. “So I guess I can’t go to see mom,” She muttered.
“It wouldn’t be safe,” Severus agreed. “You have been seen enough today, we don’t know who might have seen you or her… and who might have recognize her.”
“Then… who’s going to go?” Buffy asked.
“Remus will go,” Severus replied.
“But he told them the wrong name,” Buffy argued.
“And he was also seen talking to her, he will say he must have been misunderstood… it won’t present a problem,” Severus reasoned showing no doubt of his statement, even when he thought otherwise.
“Is she alright?” Buffy demanded. No, Joy wasn’t alright. Severus wanted to say. Joy wasn’t alright like their mother hadn’t been alright the last years –months? - of her life. Joy wasn’t alright because she knew what was coming their way. Especially for what was coming in Buffy’s way. The truth was flying at full speed ready to blow in their heads.
“Mrs. Longbottom told us she hadn’t waked up, and she looked a bit pale. Other than that, the mediwitches don’t know,” Severus replied. It was true; the Mediwitches didn’t know yet what Joy had. But Severus knew, oh yes, Severus knew well what Joy had. After all, hadn’t he been the one who helped Joy to take care of their mother. Hadn’t he been the one who noticed the trembleure in Joy’s hand the night before, when he had found her staring at old pictures. He was the one who could connect the dots.
Severus knew well the syntomes. Trembleure, paleness, vomit, headatches, anxiousness, and dizziness. The only one he hadn’t noticed was the loss of short term memory. He knew them by heart, he knew them well. Everyone else would think they were stress related. But after the Mediwitches would give Joy the potions who never failed with stress related syntoms, they would understand they were dealing with something more serious than stress, something definitely more fatal.
He had given a lot of his free time to research about the disease. The disease that seemed to affect every woman of his family. There were potions already, but only those who prolonged some years the inevitable painful death. Joy had been taking them since they were the wild toddlers who played tag with their small brooms at the backyard. Their mother had not once let him forget Joy needed them to be normal and healthy. Their mother had not once let him forget it was his duty as the elder to look out for Joy when their mother would be gone.
But Severus guessed Joy had stopped taking it after giving birth to Buffy. And now they were left to face the consequences. Severus had tried sending her the potions, during the time she was disconnected. He knew all the ingredients were hard to find, he knew she was problably taking a muggle façade to hide her child. But everytime he tried was also everytime he failed. Fawkes refused to send her anything coming from him. When he told the situation to Dumbledore, the potions came back as filled as they had been sent. He could not understand his sister’s stuborn behavior. Especially, because her own daughter could suffer in the future from the same disease. But everytime he tried to reason with her by a letter, the mail was sent closed, the potions were sent complete.
And now he was left with her child. What was he to do?
“Can’t you go?” Buffy asked biting her lip. “To the Hospital I mean…” She stuttered.
“I can’t, I have no reason to,” Severus answered dryly.
“She’s your sister!” Buffy hissed annoyed. “I clearly don’t know what’s the stupid feud between you two but-“
“I can’t because I’m not supposed to know Ava, not unless I report it to Voldemort,” Severus hissed haughtly. “And if I say who she really is, I might put her in more danger than the one she is already. At this time there are Death Eaters everywhere. It is not safe,” Severus added regaining his even tone. “I cannot afford having them know she’s here…. They’ll know she’s back and they will guess so are you. And I haven’t said anything to Voldemort. If he finds out I’m keeping this type of information from him…”
He would be dead. Severus knew that. It had taken him a lot to convince Voldemort he had had nothing to do with his sister’s disappearance when she had left. It had taken him even more to go back to the Dark Lord after what Voldemort had done to Joy. After what Severus had foolishly allowed him to do.
He blocked his emotions away, as he was used to. He stared into the young girl’s eyes that showed so many emotions.
“But… Remus saw her and he said the wrong name, when we saw her with the doctors,” Buffy reasoned. “Won’t that be suspicious?”
“It will be suspicious; they will think Remus is hiding something. But it is better than thinking I am hiding something,” Severus said coldly. Buffy mistook the tone and the posture. She saw a cold, calculating, selfish man; instead of what Severus really was.
And Severus noticed it.
Buffy stepped back inside the room and sat down in her bed. She felt as if half of the time she had spent in the house, she had been sitting in the same spot of the same bed. She felt as if she were trapped in a vicious circle of lies and lack of information. She felt cheated. She felt angry. She felt disappointed. She wanted out. She wanted out real bad. But there was this thing nagging her at the back of her head.
She didn’t know which one was. All she knew was that it was strong enough to hold her in a house full of people she didn’t know. In a world she didn’t know nor understand. She knew there was something important she had to find out. She felt it. And it was about time she found answers.
“Why is it so important?” She asked standing up quickly. She saw her uncle stayed in the frame of the door looking at the window behind her lost in thought. His trance broke with a small blink of his eyes. He stared at her.
“What is important?” Severus returned with an eyebrow raised. He sighed.
“Keeping me hidden,” Buffy elaborated stepping forward.
“Think about it, isn’t it obvious?” He replied looking interested in Buffy’s features. “If Voldemort gets you, you will be dead unless you join him. Which I’m almost sure you won’t,” He added seeing she said nothing.
“Why wouldn’t I?” Buffy asked suspicious.
“You are who you are Buffy. I don’t think you are a killer, I know you don’t have it in you,” Severus said not in the normal, comforting, reassuring voice a normal person would have said. He said it challengly.
“It takes a killer to recognize another doesn’t it?” She returned glaring at him.
“Do you have a price Buffy?” He asked his eyes testing her.
“A price?” She echoed disgusted.
“Money, fame, power… maybe love?” He wondered stepping in the room. Her eyes flickered. Angel.
“I wouldn’t kill one for another…” Buffy said back bravely.
“Then you won’t be ever able to fight in this war. At war we kill because if we don’t, we will be killed. Survival of the fittest.” Severus lectured. “If you have a price, an ambition, something to be tempted with …” He shut up staring at her. She stayed in silence staring at Severus who was higher than her for at least two heads. She stepped slowly back. He sighed and stepped back determinedly. “If Voldemort gets a hold of you, he will tempt you with everything you have ever dreamed of. You won’t remember anything you fight for, only what you long for. This is why it’s so important. I don’t want him to get a hold of you because either he’ll kill you or he’ll break your integrity. I don’t know which one would be worse,” With this said he stepped to the door and stared at the small frame he left in the middle of the room.
“Which was your desire?” Buffy asked when he was about to leave. Without turning he smiled to himself.
“I did what I did because I thought it was the right thing to do at the time, ” He turned his head slightly. “The truth is that if Voldemort gets a hold of what you treasure the most, there’s nothing you can do to stop him from using it to make you join him. Don’t make the same mistake I did,” He recommended. “It does not take long to find out that information.” Buffy stared at him frowning.
“Which do you think I desire?”
“The truth,” Severus answered slowly. “Just make sure that when you get the truth you get a hold of the original version and not a twisted scheme.”
She stayed frozen for several minutes. She knew already what Severus had told her. He knew Voldemort wanted her because she was powerful. He hadn’t added anything new. She did consider though what he had said…. Because after all, maybe Voldemort could try to get a hold of the people she had the closest at heart. Giles. Maybe Voldemort was the reason he had gone missing.
She still felt lost in this world. She didn’t understand why a dark, evil and twisty wizard would want her. Because even if she had a super strenght and she could heal faster than other people, compared to a fully trained wizard, she was nothing. She could be killed with a curse, or at least that’s what she had heard.
She looked around the room and only one thing came to her mind. The box. She knew the box hadn’t been returned to Dumbledore –if he was indeed the rightful owner-. Because even if her mother was a witch, she couldn’t have found Dumbledore, given him the box, returned to the room and catch her breath so quickly. But there were always the owls, she mentally added. She cursed silently. She looked in some drawers with no success.
There was another knock on the door. She looked at the door guiltly. The room was a bit messed up. Some clothes were out of their drawers, they were laying on the floor. It would be impossible for her to organize them. Unless…
She ran to her bed, trying to make the less noice possible. She pulled out from the shopping bags the box of her wand and she pulled it out. She smirked to herself and had the sudden surprising urge to laugh. She grabbed it confidently but at the same time feeling rather stupid.
Then she remembered the door. She opened it slightly, and found Hermione outside.
“Yeah?” She asked frowning. She saw Hermione hesitating at her look. The red curls where still as perfect as before.
“Professor Dumbledore is here, he asked me to tell you, your mom will be coming in an hour or two,” Hermioned informed feeling a bit uncomfortable by briging news in this type of situation.
“Oh… so she’s fine?” Buffy asked worried.
“I don’t know, they didn’t tell me,” Hermione said. She saw Buffy biting her lip nervously. “But if she’s coming home, she can’t be that bad right?” She added offering a smile.
“Yeah...” Buffy agreed softly. She smiled back at Hermione.
“Maybe tomorrow we can take a look at your books, would you like that?” Hermione asked.
“Oh sure,” Buffy agreed nodding. She rememebered the wand hidden in her back and she grinned to herself. “It would be nice,” She added. Hermione nodded and muttered a goodbye before leaving. Buffy closed the door immediately and switched the lock. She stared at the messed up room and her wand.
“Mmmm, what can I say?” She muttered to herself. “Get your butts back to your drawers now!” She ordered and gave a flick to the wand. Not one garment moved, but the bed’s dressing caught fire. She cursed and threw herself to the bed with her mother’s coat. She whipped it wildly, until the fire was put off. She stared at her wand on the floor –it had ended up there after setting in fire the bed-. She grabbed it and stared at it as if it had the answers to all of her questions. Then she decided better, she put it back inside its box, and the box inside the shopping bag, and the shopping bag inside the closet. She organised the room manually, and when she finished, she decided to go outside. Maybe she would catch a glimpse of Dumbledore; he had the air of being someone who could answer one’s questions no matter what they were.
She went down the stairs, directly to the dinning room –because it was near meal time-. She didn’t cross people on her way, like she would have liked. But when she reached the room in question, she only found Snape and Dumbledore inside.
“Buffy,” Snape said at the same time Dumbledore said, “Buffy, the person we wanted to see.”
“Hermione told me my mom’s coming?” Buffy asked going straight to the point.
“Yes,” Dumbledore confirmed. “Remus spoke to the mediwitches to arrange everything, she should be here any minute now.”
“So what was wrong with her? Why was she unconscious?” Buffy asked.
“She’s better now, she’s no longer unconscious,” Dumbledore answered, avoiding letting Snape talk about Joyce’s state.
“But she’s fine now?” Buffy insisted.
“Fine enough to come in one piece,” Dumbledore answered smiling.
“Could I speak to you… alone…. sir?” Buffy then proceeded giving a sided short glance at Severus.
“Of course,” Dumbledore answered in time. Buffy expected for him to be suspicious of her motives. She expected he would try to postpone the dialogue, not to jump right in it. She was used to that reaction from those who held answers. Maybe that was the thing, she had been wrong and he didn’t hold any answers for her.
They walked away from where they had been and Dumbledore took her to the room she had first arrived. “What would you like to discuss?” Just like that.
“Many things,” Buffy stuttered surprised by his reaction. She had been keeping inside of her many come backs, and many imaginary dialogues between her and the different people who had been censuring information from her. Now that she could not use her very persuative and very prepared phrases, she didn’t know where to begin.
“Before you tell me those things, I must warn you. There are things I cannot tell you,” Dumbledore said while Buffy organized her thoughts.
“Why?” Buffy asked breaking her line of thought. He smiled.
“Because I do not know,” He answered simply. She looked into the wise blue eyes looking for lies. But those eyes were too wise, and too well experimented for her to feel certaine he was indeed not lying to her.
“What does the prophesy say?” She asked.
“To be quite honest, I thought you would ask first how to remove the conseiling charm,” He replied chuckling. Buffy then remembered she looked nothing like her normal self.
“Could you?” She asked hesitating.
“Yes, I was your mother’s conselor when she made her thesis about conseiling charms,” Dumbledore explained. “It was very impressive to have such brilliant student and such excellent results.”
“Oh, so she did invent this?” Buffy asked curiously.
“Yes, your mother was one of the most gifted witches I’ve ever seen. She was not only smart, but she had a creative quality worth getting jelous of. The Snape siblings were both very gifted. Severus talent was kept in Potions, Joy in transfiguration,” Dumbledore said watching the interest twinkling in Buffy’s eyes. Curiosity of knowing every detail of her mother’s childhood. Then she remembered the question that had been left in the air. If her mother was coming back, there was no need of loosing time with the spell.
“What about the prohesy?” She repeated.
“It warns the world about the birth of a very powerful child, one who helds the balance of our entire world at its hands,” Dumbledore resumed shortly.
“That’s me?” She asked to be sure. He just nodded.
“You have to understand Ms. Summers. We are at the verge of a war, many people worry about the outcome. But many ignore that we have to worry the most about the afterwards. Either if we win, either if we loose, both sides will be weakened. A perfect opportunity for an unknown evil to attack either side,” He explained, at the same time looking into Buffy’s hazel eyes for understatement.
“That’s why Voldemort wants me on his side?” Buffy asked. “Because I’m supposed to assure his weakened troups protection while they get stronger?”
“Yes and no,” Dumbledore answered wisely. “He believes you are a great asset to the war as well. I do not believe that if he gained a hold of you he would keep you locked if you were willing to fight at his side. I believe he sees you as a great opportunity of forming a right hand,” Dumbledore said. That twinkle in his eyes and that small moment where he had avoided meeting her eyes, told Buffy -the person who she was starting to trust to take her out from ignorance- was once again keeping details from her.
When she was about to explode to the old wizard, the door conveniently opened revealing Mrs. Wealey. “She’s here Professor, Joy is back,” She announced. Dumbledore looked at Buffy waiting for her to react. Buffy went to Mrs. Wealey at the door, waiting for her to lead the way to Buffy’s mother.
Mrs. Wealey took her to the entrance of the house, where Joy was leaning on Remus. She looked tired, pale. Buffy grew worried. She walked to her mom, who just smiled when she saw Buffy coming near her. She left Remus’ safe shoulder to hug and kiss her daughter.
“You’re ok?” Buffy muttered while she embraced her mother.
“Peachy,” Joyce mocked making Buffy smile. “We have to get ourselves out of this looks, at first I must admit I almost didn’t recognize you,” Joy said grabbing a red curl of Buffy’s mass of red curls.
At the entrance there were only Dumbledore, Severus, Remus, Mrs. Wealey, Sirius, Joy and Buffy. Joy didn’t have to talk much. With a glance, she made Buffy understand she wanted to go upstairs and rest, instead of staying to chat.
“Let’s get you to our room first, that can wait,” Buffy proposed worried by her mother. Joy just smiled at her daughter’s protectiveness.
“Let me give you hand Buffy,” Sirius said noticing Joy’s weakened limbs. Before Buffy could say anything. Sirius grabbed Joy’s form quickly but safely. He held her bride style in his arms. Buffy could hear her mother chuckling and saying something like “You haven’t lost the touch”. Buffy also noticed the dark look Severus gave to Sirius and Joyce.
“I have her purse and her coat,” Remus said handing them to her. Buffy nodded and murmured thanks, before going after the chuckling adults to her room.
She opened the door and felt silly for interrupting a sweet moment. Sirius was brushing Joyce’s hair, and Joyce was giggling softly. Sirius turned when he noticed Buffy. He stood up from the bed, gave a kiss to Joyce’s back of the hand.
“I give you back your mother,” He said gallantly, Buffy smiled and waited him to leave. She took the place Sirius had been taken before she arrived.
“What’s wrong?” Joyce asked.
“How sick are you?” Buffy asked. “Nobody said anything about what you had. I believe you and your friends are taking the custome of letting me in the dark…” Joyce smiled sadly.
“We don’t have to worry about this; I was just low in sugar…” Joy said. Buffy didn’t believe it. “The day you were born Buffy, I only told one person… from here I mean,” Joyce said smiling at the memory. “I wrote to Lily, we had promised that we would do that in case we were ever apart. I wrote her two lines, without telling if you were a girl or your name or where we were,” Joyce touched the small pendant she had in her neck. “She sent me this.”
Buffy knew that pendant from all her life. Joyce had always said Hank had given it to her when Buffy was born. It was a golden round piece that didn’t say anything. Everytime Buffy asked her father what did it mean he would look confused and ask her of what she was talking about. Buffy always thought this was a hidden joke to her mom and dad.
“I put a spell on Hank to make him believe he had given it to me. That’s why nobody could tell you what it meant,” Joyce smiled at Buffy. “To open it, you just need a simple spell,” She added. “Where’s your wand?” Joyce asked. Buffy blushed, remembering the past encounter with the wicked wand. She looked at it in the closet, inside the bag, inside the box. She pulled it out uncomfortably, and showed it to her mom. “I think it’s time for you to learn your first spell,” Joyce announced grinning. She rose from her former position; she sat in the bed, closing her eyes. Buffy noticed the effort the simple move was costing her mom.
“We can wait...” Buffy offered looking worried.
“I’m alright Buffy,” Joyce assured. She pulled out her own wand. “Try doing this move with the wrist,” Joyce showed with her right wrist, Buffy mimicked. “Very well, do it a few times to see if you get it,” Joyce asked. Buffy repeated it having problems only the first time.
“What are we going to do?” Buffy asked.
“A well known spell that can put you out of your troubles if you forgot the car key’s inside the car,” Joyce explained grinning. “It’s called Alohomora,” Joyce said. She grabbed her wand and pointing at the drawers while making the twist. “Alohomora,” She said. A ray of light left the wand quickly and the drawers opened.
“Nifty,” Buffy said surprised. She closed the drawers and tightened her grip on her wand. “Alohomora!” She exclaimed. The drawers didn’t only open, they flew across the room and went at full speed across the room, breaking the windows and falling out of the room. Joyce reacted quickly.
“Accio drawers!” She yelled pointing at the windows. The drawers came back flying and before hitting Joyce they stopped and fell softly over Joyce’s bed. “Reparo,” Joyce muttered and pointed once again at the window which repaired itself quickly.
“Sorry,” Buffy said shurgging. She grabbed the drawers and took them back to it’s place. “Maybe it’s better I leave it as it is,” Buffy said leaving the wand in front of her mom.
“No Buffy, you just need to learn a bit before controlling it totally. I must admit I didn’t think the spell would happen the very first time, much less that it would work with such intensity. Maybe being a slayer intensifies the spells…” She suggested. “Don’t worry; you’ll get a hold to it.”
“Well, you better open the pendant, if I do it we risk for it to blow up,” Buffy said grabbing her wand once again.
“Let’s make a deal, you will be the one to open it, but first you have to learn how to control it,” Joyce proposed. Buffy nodded. Joyce took it off from her neck and handed it to Buffy. Buffy smiled.
“Don’t you want to keep it?” Buffy asked. After all this was problably the last thing Lily had given to her mother. Joyce shook her hand.
“It was for you,” Joyce cleared out. “Do you want to try something else?” Joyce asked grinning. Buffy grinned back.
“I know!” Buffy said grinning. She made the small flicker while saying: “Abracadabra!” She pointed at the end with her wand at the pendant. Joyce giggled at first but then she turned serious.
“Buffy, there is one spell that is a bit similar to the thing you just said. It is the killing curse, it is forbidden to use it. I would prefer that in company of wizards you never say this as a joke. Not all wizards are familiar with muggle terminations, and you might get yourself in trouble for it,” Joyce explained.
“Oh,” Buffy said. She nodded. “Any other pop culture references can’t be used?” Buffy asked smirking.
“Like for example?” Joy asked
“Salagadoola menchicka boola bibbidi-bobbidi-boo,” Buffy sang.
Mother and daughter laughed together like they hadn’t done in a while.
Forgetting all about prophesies, slayers and wizards for one moment.
Little did they know it would be their last.