: The characters are not mine, owned by JK Rowling and Joss Whedon.Timeline:
For Buffy, after the events of "The Gift". For Harry Potter, he is entering his seventh year at Hogwarts. The events of his sixth year will be referred to as the story progresses. Just enjoy. ^_^Behind the VeilHarry Potter/Buffy the Vampire Slayer
By, Heather B. Kytes
Though he had been expecting them, Harry Potter still felt uncomfortable as the blue lights seared his eyes. He blinked until he could see clearly again, and surveyed the doors surrounding him. They all looked alike, and he had no way of knowing which was the one that led into the room he sought. He pushed his glasses up his nose impatiently, wishing again he'd tried to obtain contacts during his last visit to the eye doctor. His new frames looked remarkably like his old ones, only slightly smaller with thinner black outlining the lenses. He was sure if he could see himself now, his green eyes would be like dirty emeralds, devoid of their usual sparkly life.
Harry pushed open the nearest door, and found himself looking into the glittery room. Remembering the events that had unfolded little more than a year ago after he and his friends had entered that room sent a fresh batch of shivers down his spine, and he closed the door quickly, muttering, "Flagrate," and drawing an "x" with his wand. The door was marked, and as it shut, the room rotated again.
He picked the door to the right of the already-visited, marked one. This was a room he had never seen before, full of bookcases stocked with volumes of books. The musty air wafted out to meet Harry's nose, and he coughed, shutting the door and marking it with a flaming "x".
After another rotation, Harry proceeded, thinking absently, third time's the charm
as he pushed open the next adjacent door.
He found the room he had been seeking, the dimly lit, rectangular room of the descending stone benches. The crumbling, ancient archway was still at the bottom of the sunken pit, looking exactly as it had the last time Harry had seen it. After Sirius...
Shaking himself out of the temporary paralysis, he walked quickly down into the depths of the pit, stopping once he had reached the front of the black veil hanging from the archway. He heard the whispers again, just like before, but he listened more carefully, trying to pick out that certain voice among them.
After a few moments of failure, he spoke aloud, "Sirius?"
The voices hushed, trailing into an eerie silence. Harry leaned forward, hoping to hear an answer to his call. "Sirius?" he called again, more loudly. The whispers began to pick up again, still talking over each other and making it nearly impossible to pick out what any of them was saying.
"Quiet, you guys!" a harsh voice hissed suddenly, rising above the others slightly. "I heard someone calling me."
"Sirius!" Harry exclaimed, unable to hide his joy as a warmth spread inside him, melting the parts of him that had been numb ever since he had lost his godfather that time ago. "Sirius, is that you?"
The whispers intensified, and the answer Harry listened for was lost in the midst. "Quiet!" he shouted. "I need to talk to Sirius!"
"You stupid prats, shut it. Didn't you hear my name?" the harsh voice called again. "I think someone's trying to talk to me."
"Hearing things again, Black?" another whisper said, the hint of a sly laugh laced along its edges. "There's no one there. ...never anyone..."
"Sirius, it's Harry! Harry Potter! Please talk to me! Can you hear me?" Harry yelled, desperate now, placing his hands against the edges of the archway, leaning so close to the veil his nose almost touched it. His glasses slipped down his nose, and he pushed them back up absent-mindedly, completely focused on the black veil and what lay behind.
"...didn't hear anything..."
"...thought Potter was..."
Harry threw himself forward in frustration, pushing at the veil. "I'm coming in, Sirius!" he said, preparing to thrust himself through the archway.
A hand grasped at his robes, and he was pulled back roughly, landing on his rear on the hard stone floor. He looked up angrily, glaring at Hermione and Ron who stood above him. "What the bloody hell do you think you're doing?" he shouted, leaping to his feet and facing his friends.
"Stopping you from making a huge mistake, apparently!" Ron shot back, looking pissed himself. His face was flushed with emotion as he gestured at the archway. "Just what are you doing here, mate?"
"I asked you first," Harry said, narrowing his eyes at them. "I didn't tell you anything about where I was going."
"I'm sorry, Harry, but I put a tracer charm on your wand," Hermione said breathlessly, her hair flying in all directions. Her brown eyes looked at him anxiously. "Ron and I have suspected you would try something rash, ever since Luna made last year so terrible for you. I mean, almost everyone you cared about..."
"None of that matters now!" Harry said, cutting her off in midsentence. Just hearing his ex-girlfriend's name spoken aloud was enough to make him bristle like a porcupine. "Sirius is back there, and I'm going to talk to him!"
Hermione surveyed him with an almost-condescending sympathy. "You're hearing what you want to hear, Harry. There's no one there. I don't hear anything."
Ron nodded. "She's right, mate."
Harry bristled further, backing away from his supposed best friends. The whispers were as audible as ever. "Maybe it's like the thestrals, and since you two haven't faced death..."
"But we have, Harry," Ron interjected quickly. "Don't you remember, I found Neville hanging from the shower head in the boy's shower, and Hermione was in that car accident where her cousin died. We can see the thestrals now." He looked saddened. "Don't you remember any of that?"
If he was to be truthful, Harry would have shaken his head no. He didn't remember. He had spent the majority of his sixth year swathing himself in his self-absorbed pity and obsessive devotion to Luna Lovegood, the girl he had thought he'd connected with on a deeper level than even his friends. Ron and Hermione's troubles and fears had taken a backseat to everything in Harry's life, including the frenzied pace with which he had begun to master occlumency. In his efforts to block his mind and emotions from Voldemort, he had inadvertently blocked himself from his friends.
"None of it matters, until I talk to Sirius," Harry reiterated. He threw his arm back, pointing at the slightly rustling black curtain. "I want you two to leave. I didn't want you here."
"Harry, if you go through that curtain, you won't be coming back!" Hermione shouted. "Don't you even know what that is?"
"I don't care! Do you hear me?" Harry bellowed, watching with slight satisfaction as Hermione and Ron stepped back. "I have this chance to talk to Sirius again, and you are NOT going to ruin that for me!" Before they could stop him, he leapt through the veil, leaving Ron and Hermione staring in wordless horror after him.
Ron raced to the other side of the archway, expecting to find Harry laying on the cold stone there.
On the ground, where the body should have been, was a charmed wand.
Willow was staring at Dawn through tear-filled eyes. "Dawnie, what did she--?"
Dawn couldn't seem to stem the tears flowing down her cheeks. She couldn't force her eyes away from the motionless body of Buffy Summers, the Vampire Slayer. Her lovely sister's corpse. "She told us to live," she said quietly. "For her."
Never had any of them felt so dead.
Harry opened his eyes, aware of a searing pain in his forehead. He was laying facedown on a soft surface, which was upon closer inspection, grass. He coughed and sat up, noticing at once that he was not alone.
"James?" came Sirius's voice to his left. He turned his head to see a younger version of Sirius (a version which looked very much like the fifteen year old in Snape's memories) staring down at him, his mouth forming a perfect "o" of surprise. "Oh, you're not... sorry about that."
Harry grabbed hold of Sirius's outstretched hand and was helped to his feet. "James? My father?" he asked at once.
Sirius somehow managed to look even more shocked at Harry's pronouncement. "Your... your what?"
"James Potter was my father, Sirius. It's me, Harry," he answered, feeling sick to his stomach. If Sirius was really as old as he looked, he was only sixteen or so, and had never met Harry. Yet the fact that Sirius had gone back in time was confusing. He had been older when he had fallen through the veil...
"Well, I don't know anything about that, but it has to be true. You look so much like ol' James. I just never..." Sirius scratched his head. "I wondered what James was doing out here when he said he was going to be in the library studying all day," he muttered to himself. "Hey, Lovey, you did say strange shit was bound to happen here, didn't you?"
A woman who looked like a carbon copy of one Luna Lovegood smiled at Sirius, and Harry felt his insides twist in rage. He felt his animosity for Luna carrying over onto this innocent woman, and he forced it back down. "That's right, Black. This is the realm of Skold, and he does tend to favor eccentricity." She turned to Harry and grinned widely. "If it isn't The Boy Who Lived. Wow. I guess that's sort of a misnomer now, isn't it?"
Harry stared at the woman, confused. "Excuse me?"
The woman looked to be in her mid-twenties, but she still had a youthful air. It was one of the things that reminded Harry so strongly of Luna. "My name is Lucy Lovegood, but most people just call me Lovey now, thanks to Sirius." As he was referred to, he bowed, wearing a mocking smile. "Anyway, welcome to the realm of Skold. You'll like it here."
"The Boy who Lived?" Sirius raised an eyebrow. "What's that mean?"
"It means he's the one who killed Voldemort," Lovey said matter-of-factly. Sirius's mouth was agape again.
"What? How the hell? I never knew Voldemort was killed!"
Lovey sighed at him. "You're living in the past, Black. I've told you this before, you just never believed me." She turned to Harry again. "What year is it, boy?"
Harry shrugged. "The year 2001," he answered automatically.
Lovey was amazed. "Wow, it's been so long," she breathed. "I passed on in 1993. I wonder how my family is doing. Luna hasn't come to see me in a good while."
"What?" Harry asked, surprised.
"She would bring a personal object of mine and come to the other side of the veil to contact me," Lovey explained. "She would tell me how everything was going, how my husband was, how school was. The last time was at the beginning of her fifth year. I suppose she's too busy with her studies now..." She sounded like she was sorely trying to hide her disappointment at the fact.
"Um, I came here to see Sirius," Harry said, desperate to explain himself and his motives. It felt like everything was spinning out of control. The place appeared like a normal courtyard of a normal school, but everything was too bright, too vivid to be reality. "Well, but the Sirius I knew was older, in his thirties. He was my godfather." Was? Is. Is!
"I didn't bring a personal object, though, so I guess it didn't work," Harry continued quickly. "I just walked through the veil, to see if I could find him."
"Oh, dear," Lovey said. Worry lines etched onto her face deepened as she frowned at him. "Walked through? Skold is going to be so pissed."
"You can't just 'walk through'," Sirius scoffed. "Ya gotta be dead to come here!" He seemed awfully nonchalant for someone who had just been told he was a godfather to a friend's son he had known nothing about.
Lovey nodded. "That should be true." She peered at Harry carefully. "You sure you're not dead?"
Harry felt annoyed. "Yes!"
Lovey bit her lower lip. "Well, that's two strange things for today. I think it's time to go see Skold." She grabbed Harry's arm and pulled him along through the soft grass. "Wait here, and I'll call one of the guards to bring you to him. Both of you."
Harry was thrust down onto a plain wooden bench. To his left sat a petite blonde girl, who was twirling a strand of her shiny hair around her little finger.
"I hope you hurry," the girl called after Lovey, brief frustration floating across her pretty features. "Because this humidity is just killing