A/N: Just so people know where I’m at with this story, there’s most likely to be three more chapters and an epilogue before it’s finished. And there will be no full length sequel. I’ve taken it as far as I can. Deliver Me From Evil by Kiara
PART FOURTEEN- LIVE LIFE
Connor groaned. He recognised that tone of voice, he’d heard it a lot in the previous week or so, and usually from his own housemates while there were no teachers around. If he’d realised how much trouble breaking free from Lucius would cause…well, he’d have still done it. At first Connor had quite enjoyed the duelling and fighting. Since Christmas he had been quite jittery- the Destroyer in him had wanted to make a come back and now, thanks to all the students queuing up to have a go, he had his chance to vent all that son-of-vampires energy. However after having been in eight duels and countless threats and arguments, the Destroyer was willing to take a break.
He turned around slowly. Ahh Nott. Of course it would be Nott. Fantastic. At least he hadn’t tried to curse him in the back like that idiot Greene. Connor raised one eyebrow in askance, reaching for his wand. It wasn’t like any of the students could match him anyway, especially with his supernatural reflexes.
Nott obviously wasn’t too bright, or was completely overconfident in his abilities to take on his disgraced housemate. The morning’s classes had just let out which meant the corridor was chock full of students shamelessly staring, all moving back to try and avoid getting caught in the crossfire. Slytherins fought dirty, fact, and no one wanted to spend the rest of the day painted florescent orange from a stray colour-changing hex.
“Malfoy.” Nott repeated. He took a couple of steps forward and the muggle part of Connor’s brain likened it to one of those old Western film.
“What. Do. You. Want?” Connor asked through gritted teeth. He’d never liked Nott, not even in those fake memories Wolfram and Hart created. Oh well, at least he could hex him legitimately now.
“Blood traitor.” Nott hissed. He lazily trained his wand on the Malfoy.
Connor tilted his head, considering the statement. It was the first time anyone had out and out accused him of being a blood traitor, to his face anyway, so now he could address the issue. He didn’t have a death wish, it was important for the wizarding world to believe him to still be loyal to Voldemort. If they believed that, then hopefully he’d get through the year without a price on his head, maybe even Lucius would hold off, thinking there was still ‘hope’ for him. If Connor turned his back on Voldemort, Lucius would have to pay for bringing up a blood traitor and he’d do just about anything to avoid that.
“I’m as true to my blood as I ever was.” Connor said in a low voice that wouldn’t carry to the students around him. Yes, he wanted word to get around to a few of his housemates but he didn’t want the whole school to accuse him to being a Death Eater. “I’ve just cut out that middle man.”
Something flickered in Nott’s eyes. Surprise, fear, uncertainty…something. Had Connor Malfoy just insinuated his allegiance to Voldemort? No one was foolish enough to do that in Hogwarts; the walls literally had ears thanks to the portraits. But if it was true, Nott couldn’t risk pissing off a supporter of Voldemort.
Nott looked around with a sweep of his eyes. He couldn’t back down now. He raised one eyebrow. Connor smirked slightly. Nott jerked his wand.
But it didn’t hit its target. With a wave of his wand Connor deflected the curse and returned with a disarming charm. Now holding Nott’s wand, Connor wordlessly turned and walked down the corridor. He stopped around the bend and leant against the wall, waiting for the other Slytherin to catch up.
“My wand?” Nott drawled with false bravado as he spotted his classmate down the corridor. If Connor really was an all-out Death Eater, then Nott really didn’t want to be on his bad side.
Connor pulled it back out of reach. “You tried to hex me. That wasn’t very nice.”
“Yeah right. If I was really trying to hex you, you’d be lying in the corridor-“
Connor scoffed. “Whatever.”
“-but I think we can agree that all that was a small misunderstanding, don’t you? Like the two like-minded adults that we are.”
Connor paused a moment, not breaking eye contact with Nott. He wasn’t sure what he was looking for; proof that the other boy had brought his story, some inkling that he hadn’t. Whatever he saw was enough as he dropped the wand into Nott’s outstretched hand. “I suppose so. Just this once. Hex me again, and you’ll find out just what this Malfoy can do, father or no father.”
In a flurry of robes, he was gone. Connor smirked as he strode off. There was something satisfying about knowing you’d played the game just so. It would have made his father proud…if Connor hadn’t disowned the worthless jerk. Now it was just him, for once in his life living the way he wanted to, and getting one over on his so-called father while he did it. Merlin, he was good. Damn good.
“Someone’s looking mighty pleased with themselves.”
Connor grinned at his girlfriend. “That’s because I am a genius.”
She didn’t look all that convinced. “Really?”
“Yeah.” He grabbed her hand and pulled her closer. “Your very lucky to be going out with me, you really are.”
“Uh-huh.” She surrendered to the kiss, not caring that they were in the corridor where anyone could see. That probably went with the new ‘bad boy’ image Connor had been trying to create for himself anyway. She’d even gone along with it a little herself, though she never wanted to be one of those Death Eater trophy wives. A little more kohl around the eyes to get her into the darker character and acting like a bit of a spoilt princess seemed to do the trick; mix one part brat with three parts haughty tart, add a sprinkling of bitch and you had the perfect Slytherin queen. Her father wasn’t happy of course, but she’d just explained that now she couldn’t rely on Connor’s Malfoy status for acceptance from her housemates anymore, she had to become a bit more Slytherin about things. And then, like a real grown up, she avoided him for a couple of days so he could get used to the idea.
She’d told her roommates the, ahem, ‘full’ story- that Connor was still as much as a Malfoy as before, he’d just gotten tired of Lucius always pushing him about- and they seemed to buy it, even if they still didn’t approve one hundred percent. Family meant a lot in the pure blood circle, but give them time, and it would settle. However Dawn wasn’t really worried about that now; her time was a bit preoccupied with her boyfriend. It was the first time in her life when she wasn’t worried about what people thought of her. Thanks to Connor, they had spent the last few days as outcasts and it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as she had thought it would be. No more fake friendships or sucking up to her roommates, even the freaky family issues were fading into the background. For once, there was only now, taking life one step at a time.
Connor let one hand drag down to her hip. The public displays of affection were definitely a perk of being free of Lucius. Now if he got caught doing something against the rules, he’d be glad of the stress it would cause Lucius and hoped word would get back to him via a letter from the school or the Slytherin grapevine. Now if he didn’t act like the harsh, emotionally stunted Malfoy everyone would expect to be Lucius’ heir there were no repercussions (well, no worse than they already were anyway). Even though he was still pretending to be evil, he felt freer than he ever had before.
Sounds of arguing reached their ears, but Connor resolutely ignored them. Even when he recognised his brother’s voice he really didn’t want to get involved. Draco always picked the worst moments to be a little brat. The arguing got closer and closer until it was right on top of them.
Draco ignored the undoubtedly scathing insult (well, as scathing as Potter could manage) as he happened upon his brother making out with Snape’s daughter for what seemed like the hundredth time. Seriously, they had a room, why not use it? “Oh bloody arse crap and fuck. Not again.”
Dawn broke away at the sound of Draco’s less than impressed cursing. She grinned. Was it wrong that she love to irk him so much? He was like the little brother she’d never had. “Hey Drake, playing with the Gryffs?”
Draco glared at her darkly. “Not even if you paid me. Must he do that?”
Connor, who had been determinedly kissing Dawn’s neck and hoping the fifth years would hurry up and leave, looked up annoyed. “Yes, he must. Piss off.”
The three Gryffindors, Hermione looking disapproving, Ron looking reluctantly impressed and Harry switching between the two and glaring at Draco, seemed happy to oblige. Or at least Hermione did, and she dragged the other two with her.
“This isn’t over, Malfoy…err little Malfoy.” Ron called back over his shoulder.
“Actually I think you’ll find it is. Twenty points from Gryffindor for being such idiots. Each.” Connor added for good measure. He smirked evilly. “You know, maybe this inquisitional squad rubbish isn’t so bad.”
The Slytherins grinned, especially when they heard Harry mutter “I really don’t like him” and then saw Hermione crack each of them round the head for being idiotic. Sometimes it was good to be morally ambiguous Slytherins rather than perfect, saintly Gryffindorks. It made life so much more interesting.
“You two, leave.” Connor commanded his brother’s lackeys. Crabbe and Goyle grunted, but hastily agreed. There was no way that they were crossing Connor Malfoy, especially when they’d be standing in between him and his brother. They’d leant that in first year when they’d been unable to figure out the counter charm to Connor’s body swap jinx. To this day, Draco was still not a hundred percent certain that they had successfully been swapped back into their original bodies.
“It wasn’t my fault.” Draco said automatically. For once it was actually true; the last few weeks he’d just been trying to keep his head down and slip under the radar. Connor had been causing enough upset for the both of them.
“So you didn’t provoke him at all? Didn’t argue back or try to hex him?” Connor said knowingly. Even though he didn’t really like Saint Potter, he still knew that Hogwarts’ golden boy wouldn’t just start a fight with his brother for no reason. No matter how appealing that may sound.
Draco was quiet for a moment. But only for a moment. “Oh fine, what-frigging-ever. You’re not so perfect either. At least I wasn’t duelling with Nott in the corridor in front of everyone!”
Dawn gave him that patented ‘oh-Merlin, what-have-you-done-now’ look. “Nice going, genius
“It wasn’t like that.” Connor assured her quickly. “Drake, that was necessary. But you, you just seem to enjoy making your life more difficult.”
Draco stared at Connor like he was crazy. “Why would I do that? You’re just pissed off because I interrupted you snogging your girlfriend.”
“Hey!” Dawn said, but, like every time the Malfoy brothers were around each other, she was ignored.
“I’m just looking out for you.”
“Yeah, well, do it quietly.” Draco retorted before spinning round and stalking off down the corridor.
Connor shook his head with a bit of a smirk as Draco wandered off. “That boy…”
“Really? I was just thinking how alike the two of you are.” Dawn remarked dryly.
He grinned at her briefly before going back in to finish the kiss he’d started earlier.
Dawn jerked her head back. “Duelling?”
“Not how it sounds.” Connor promised.
“Uh-huh.” She wasn’t convinced.
“Really.” He picked up her hand and rubbed a thumb over her knuckles in what he hoped was a sexy, soothing manner. “Why don’t we go back to the dorms and I’ll tell you what happened?”
She smiled and he thought that he’d got away with it. Then the smile dropped off. Damn, so close. “Yeah right. Its lunch time and I’m sure I’ll be able to hear all about it at our table.”
Connor winced. “Fantastic.”
“Read chapter six.” Snape said curtly as he entered his advanced potions class. The students exchanged looks and pulled out their text books wordlessly. No one was going to risk crossing Snape in this mood.
Severus sat at his desk glaring round at the students. It was convenient at times to have so many handy bodies to vent his frustrations on. He’d gotten very little sleep that night and the last thing he’d wanted to do was teach a first period class. Voldemort was planning something, this much he knew, but he hadn’t been able to find out any useful information. Other than the fact that the Dark Lord still hadn’t been able to get that sodding prophecy involving bloody Potter.
He’d heard rumours amongst other Death Eaters though. Apparently Voldemort’s demonic army was taking shape; he had found absolutely no information of use to the Order, but it was causing unease and that was never a good thing. For now though, all he could do was sit and speculate… and glare whenever the Malfoy boy whispered something to his daughter.
“You’re dad looks like he’s sitting on a blast ended skrewt.” Connor breathed as he turned the page he was reading. He saw her smile out of the corner of his eye and reached over to hold the hand resting on her knee. She smiled again and leaned a little closer.
“You two are sickening.” Nott muttered. He’d been hanging around Connor more recently, hoping to ride on his robe-tails all the way to the top of Voldemort’s favour.
“Jealous?” Connor whispered keeping his eyes on the text in front of him. He really didn’t want to give Snape a reason to yell at him. He snuck a glance at Dawn; not another reason to yell at him anyway.
Nott snorted quietly. He kept one wary eye on Snape, but the professor was glaring at two girls who had started muttering in the back row. “I’m jealous of anyone who’s getting any on a regular basis.”
As Connor grinned, his girlfriend dug her nails into his hand as hard as she could, making him very grateful for his vampire inheritance otherwise that would have really hurt. “What? He was the one that said it!”
Dawn glared at him. “Be nice or I won’t let you come to America with me.”
“You’re going to America?” Nott asked. He’d gone to America when he’d received his apperating licence, but had gotten lost navigating the long journey home and had never gone back.
“To visit a couple of friends.” Dawn answered the standard answer. It was logical really, she had gone to school there for six years. “I thought I’d let Connor tag along.”
“Wow. A couple holiday. How special.” Nott remarked keeping his voice carefully neutral. “I would have thought that you’d have…better things to do, Malfoy.”
“Not until after graduation.” Connor said lazily. “For now, a trip abroad with my girlfriend sounds pretty good.”
Snape caught the tail end of his statement and stopped. Connor was going to America with Dawn? Like hell he was. When his daughter had asked his permission to spend a week of the Easter holidays with Buffy and co. in Cleveland he’d bitten his tongue and agreed. There had been no mention of a hormone-driven boy accompanying her. He looked at the clock on the wall and saw half an hour left of the lesson.
Screw it. “Class dismissed. Finish the reading for tomorrow.”
As his daughter and ‘The Boy’ started packing their things away he scowled. “ Not
“Nice knowing you Malfoy.” Nott grinned as he slid out the door.
“I hear the two of you are planning a trip to America.” Severus said after counting to ten very slowly. He could remain calm.
“Possibly.” Dawn answered carefully as Connor wisely stayed quiet. “Well, Connor’s got family in Cleveland as well- it makes sense.”
“There is no way I’m letting him go to another country with you.” Snape ground out. The Easter holidays were over two weeks long, why couldn’t they go separately?
“Why not?” Dawn asked angrily. She hated it when he laid down the law so irrationally, like she was stupid or something. “We live together at Hogwarts!”
“Where I can keep an eye on you both.” Snape countered.
Connor kicked Dawn to prevent whatever comment she was about to make. It was bound to make him look bad and he liked his internal organs where they were, thank you very much.
Dawn rolled her eyes as her father remained in the ignorant bliss all parents clung too for dear life. As soon as their children hit puberty, they do their best to forget what they were like as teenagers and what their children were most likely doing now. It was probably best for all parties that way. “Connor. Leave. Now.”
The Malfoy wasted no time in doing as he was told when the elder Snape raised to objections and continued the glaring match with his daughter. There was no way he wanted to be in the middle of this and chances are it would end up being his fault in one way or another anyway. The more distance there was between him and his girlfriend’s father, the better.
“Dad, I’m almost eighteen. You’re going to have to trust me at some point. Besides I was living in America all on my own for six years and you didn’t give a damn then… I didn’t mean that.” Dawn added immediately, and truthfully, at his dejected look. “Look, you think you’re over-protective? You should see Buffy and Xander and don’t even get me started on Spike.”
Severus cracked the barest smile. He could believe that from what limited exposure he’d had to the group. “I am only looking out for your best interests.”
“I know, but I love Connor. Really properly do. And he loves me, I know he does. This isn’t just two kids mucking around, Dad, this is it.”
He didn’t break the level stare he’d kept with her throughout the confrontation. His daughter really was in love. She was too young to be in love. No, she wasn’t really. But she was his little girl. Who was in a serious relationship. Oh crap, if this didn’t cause trouble then he’d drink one of the Weasley boys’ potions.
“Very well?” Dawn eyed him suspiciously. She’d expected it to be more difficult than that, she’d expected to have to plead her case. “Are you feeling okay?”
“Dawn, all I want if for you to be happy.”
“Then I’ll support you.” He said in the same gentle tone as before. “And if he hurts you then I’ll hunt him down and make him suffer.”
“Sooo…port key leaves in two minutes.” Dawn said with a wave of the slightly dented frying pan which would act as their method of transport. She would have said anything to fill the awkward silence that had descended on the group as the stood at the edge of the wards surrounding Hogwarts.
Severus reluctantly stopped glaring at Connor to say his loving goodbyes to his daughter. “Don’t do anything reckless.”
Dawn rolled her eyes at his abrupt manner. “As if, Dad. I’m just going to visit family. We’ll spend the week going shopping, drinking coffee and playing Monopoly.”
They both ignored Faith’s snort. She and Illyria had opted to travel back with Connor and Dawn. Well, Illyria had demanded that they go with them really, but Faith wasn’t going to turn down the opportunity to head back to the States, catch up with her family, and kill some demons. For something called the Forbidden Forest, there was surprising little to slay, especially considering that there were dozens of Death Eaters on the loose and it was right in the back garden of Harry Potter, who was supposedly number one on Voldemort’s most wanted. Protecting the castle and students wouldn’t even qualify as a part time job, and for Faith, who had never been happy just sitting around, it was beyond boring.
“See that you do.” Severus said satisfied. In the short time he’d spent with Buffy Summers it had been clear that she loved Dawn and would do anything to protect her, he’d heard the young woman had even died in Dawn’s place. And, though he did fear that once Dawn had completed her education Buffy would try and persuade her to leave him, he also realised that to try and stop them from developing their relationship would only end up pushing her further away. He loved his daughter; if this was what was best for her, then he would support it.
Dawn reached up and pressed a kiss to his cheek. “Love you.”
“Love you too.” The soft voice with which he spoke vanished instantly as he turned to his daughter’s travel companion. “Mister Malfoy. Have a good trip.”
“Yes sir.” Connor said politely. Not only was this man his teacher, but his girlfriend’s father. He’d rather stay in his good graces if he could.
“Take care of my daughter, Connor. I’m… trusting you to protect her.”
“With my life.” Connor answered surely. The willingness and speed in which he had answered sent shivers down Dawn’s spine, purely because she didn’t doubt that he meant it- a fact that seemed to have taken Severus by surprise as well. Once again she was forcibly reminded that they were at war and the chances of both of them making it through were slim at best. What would she do if she was the one to live and Connor to die? Worse still, if he was to die because of her? She’d always been a danger to those around her, how many times had Buffy had to rescue her? Now Connor could be added to the list of people whose lives she could endanger.
“You better get ready.” Snape announced to the group, eyeing Faith and Illyria warily. He hadn’t spent any time with them, preferring to stay away from the reminders of his daughters alternate life. “The port-key will be activating soon.”
Illyria stared at the bent frying pan. “I travelled dimensions in the blink of an eye. I do not need the aid of a deformed skillet to cross one ocean.”
“Fine, stay here. Find your own way home.” Dawn said flippantly, knowing that she wouldn’t.
Illyria scowled. “When I regain my true powers-”
“Yeah, yeah, you’ll swat us like flies.” Faith said. “Now take the damn pan.”
They felt a tug, and were transported, hurtling through space, to Los Angeles. As they landed, Connor steadying Dawn when she stumbled, they immediately recognised the large group of people waiting for them.
Connor picked out Angel right away and, much to the vampire’s surprise threw his arms around his neck. He had never been much of a tactile person, but the relief he felt at seeing his father again, in one piece after the fight in LA, was overwhelming. After a moment they parted with an awkward smile, neither knowing what to say. Connor spotted Gunn leaning heavily against one wall, still not fully recovered from his injuries, and nodded a greeting which the elder man returned.
Meanwhile, Dawn was doing the rounds- hugging Buffy, Giles, Willow, Spike and Xander and she was a little surprised to see Andrew also waiting to greet her. If felt so easy being back in that circle again, all smiles and laughter, like she had only gone away to college or something like that. Not been erased in their memories and built into a whole new life.
Connor looked at the bleached blond before him and immediately recognised him as Spike, even if Dawn hadn’t have described him. They were both childes of Angelus and he could sense the blood connection. The bloke next to him with the eye patch had to be Xander. Both were glaring at him harshly so he knew that he was going to be getting the ‘hurt Dawn and we’ll kill you’ talk. Because there hadn’t been enough of that today.
“We hear you’re dating the ‘bit.”
“And don’t even get me started on the weirdness of that history repeating itself one generation on.” Xander injected sternly. He hadn’t been happy to hear that Angel’s sprog was seeing his surrogate little sister.
Spike glared at him. “Let’s just get this over with, eh? Hurt Nibblet and I’ll rip yer bleedin’ limbs off, got it?”
Connor nodded. “Just for the record, I have no intention of hurting Dawn. Ever.”
Spike scoffed. “We rarely intend to hurt ‘em, pup, it just happens. See that it doesn’t.”
“Then we’ll get along just fine.” Spike offered him a smirk and held out his hand to shake. “So you’ll be the newest member of me line then.”
“Seems that way.” Connor accepted the hand, pleased at the acceptance.
“Let’s hope you don’t turn out to be as soft as your old pa. Smoke?” He offered the crushed packet, taking one out for himself. “Gotta light?”
Spike eyed the suspiciously stake-like wand warily as Connor lit a flame out the end and offered it to the vampire.
“Never been a fan of magic.” Spike said as he took a drag and exhaled the smoke lazily. “Anything that uses mini stakes to conjure fire and sunlight ain’t exactly good for me.”
“You must be glad I’m on your side then.”
“True, pup; too true.” Spike said with a laugh. He ignored the glare Giles and Angel were give him for smoking in the Council buildings. He was evil, dammit, what did he care?
An hour later and Connor and Dawn were settled into their very
separate rooms- they doubted very much that it was a coincidence that they were at opposite ends of the building with everyone else living in between. They were all having dinner together that night, apparently the first time everyone had been able to make it. Everyone wanted to welcome them home.
Buffy watched as her little sister shared a secret smile with her boyfriend over the dinner table, while carrying on her conversation with Willow about the merits of wand magic versus Wicca. It was hard to believe that the little girl who had bugged her about going on patrols was in love and all grown up. They had spent some time together that afternoon, just the two of them, and the differences were clear to see. Dawn had grown up a lot that last year in Sunnydale, but now she had a confidence in herself that she had never had before. As much as it pained Buffy to admit it, being part Snape seemed to do her a lot of good. She seemed more grown up and level-headed now, plus the magic obviously meant that she could better defend herself.
“You see it too, don’t you?” Xander muttered from his seat next to her.
Buffy turned to see that he was also looking at Dawn with a smile. Sometimes it was easy to forget how involved the others had been in raising Dawn after their mother had died, particularly Xander who had always had a soft spot for her.
“Little Dawnie’s not so little?” Xander continued with a grin. “It makes me feel old.”
“You think she’s alright then?”
Xander’s grin dropped as he looked at Buffy, contemplating the answer. “You know when I left Sunnydale that summer after graduation?”
“On the roadtrip we’re not allowed to mention?” Buffy smirked.
“And after this conversation, we never will again.” Xander continued smoothly. “Despite all the (ah-hem) problems
it was the best thing I ever did. It gave me a chance to get out there by myself and figure out who I was, away from the super-slayer and witch-extraordinaire.”
He interrupted her, not wanting the pity or ‘you’re so important to us’ speech, because he genuinely didn’t need it. He knew who he was, and he was happy with it. “It’s not like that, I love you guys, and Dawn does too. Dawn getting out on her own, might turn out to be a good thing. If she can stand on her own two feet, how is that a bad thing?”
“It’s not. She seems happy, and relatively safe. That‘s the most important thing.”
Dawn had her own life, separate to the one she’d begun in Sunnydale, and now Buffy just had to find a way to fit into it.
Catching her sister’s gaze and noting the serious look, Dawn quirked an eyebrow, silently asking if she was alright. Buffy nodded in response, their life was never going to be easy and who knew if they would ever have their ‘happily ever after’, but for now she was content. A normal dinner, surrounding by family, with the apocalypse happily sitting on the back burner. All she wanted now was for them all to make it through this and whatever battles there may be in the future.
Angel was keeping a careful ear tuned in on Spike and Connor’s conversation but, to his everlasting surprise, Spike seemed to be on his best behaviour, just getting to know the new member of his line. With plenty of sarcasm and insults towards his sire injected of course, but they made Connor laugh, so Angel found himself not caring. He had thought he had lost Connor forever, so this was more than he had ever dreamed would happen. He had spent the whole afternoon with Connor, while Buffy and Dawn had been catching up, and despite the worry he felt for the worsening situation at Hogwarts, he was happy that Connor had finally found his place in this world and settled down. Even if it was with Buffy’s baby sister.
Connor had had hundreds of family dinners with the Malfoy’s, or at least he remembered them, but they had involved him sitting in silence, only speaking when spoken to as they were served by the house elves. Here, everyone pitched in and talked across one and other, almost like how the other tables spent meal times at Hogwarts, but the Slytherin table was far to reserved and superior to enjoy such activity. There was warmth, and laughter, and love, and all those other sappy things which he had never known he had missed. It was nice, really nice.
He tried to ignore the voice that was telling him to enjoy this slice of life, because sooner or later, most likely sooner, it was all going to come crashing down around them.
So this was the calm. Now bring on the storm…