A/N: I have posted the first five chapters at fanfiction.net, but one of my reviewers gave the suggestion to post here as well, so I have taken their advice in the hopes I might receive some more feedback than I’ve been getting.
Disclaimer: I do not claim any rights to or ownership of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Harry Potter and subsequent stories or characters. No copyright infringement is intended on either works of creative genius. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the property of creator Joss Whedon and Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling.
Summary: After defeating the First in Sunnydale, Buffy Summers and the remaining players from the Sunnydale gang made it their mission to locate all of the new Slayers that were popping up all over the globe. They re-structured the Watcher’s Council from the inside out and have been working for the last 16 years to train the new Slayers, equipping them to go back home with a Watcher and protect their homes and surrounding areas without worrying about the entire world. After Harry succeeded in killing Voldemort, he entered Auror training and quickly rose through the ranks to become Head of the Auror Department. Things have been relatively quiet in the Wizarding World; however, he and his compatriots occasionally run into a few Death Eaters who are bent on the total destruction of Muggles. A new threat is beginning to rise, putting both Buffy and Harry and there loved ones in danger. This is nothing new for either of them, but when the two worlds collide, will it be enough to stop the return of an old foe?
“This is the part where you make a choice…” Buffy, Chosen
It was mid-July in Bulgaria and the sweltering heat of summer was such that anyone not used to the heat felt as though they could wear the air. A young woman walked briskly along a nearly deserted road, wiping the sweat from her brow and wished fervently that she would be blessed with even the smallest of breezes. The man striding along next to her glanced over and frowned. “You are warm?” He asked, his Bulgarian accent very thick.
“A little,” the woman agreed.
“Here,” he said, taking her lightweight cape from her arm. “The summers are very humid in Bulgaria, but I am used to the weather.”
She released the cape gratefully and shook her arms lightly by her side, trying to stir up a little air. “Thank you, Viktor.”
Viktor Krum grunted in response. He was unsure about this woman walking beside him. There was something different about her that he couldn’t quite put his finger on, but Dawn Summers was slowly beginning to win him over.
Dawn and Viktor walked in silence for a while as Dawn took in her surroundings. Tall trees were silhouetted against the darkening sky. The moon shone full and bright and Dawn found herself thinking of another place and time when the full moon was more dangerous than beautiful. The stars were beginning to twinkle as well and Dawn sighed, enjoying the sight of them. Living in London meant that she didn’t get to experience the night sky for its true beauty very often.
“Ve are nearly there,” Viktor said, breaking the silence.
“Will I be able to see it?” Dawn wondered aloud. “Giles said that non-magical people can’t see most wizard schools.”
Dawn had been briefed about typical Wizarding culture and education before she had left for Bulgaria to locate another girl who had been recently called. The circumstances were very different this time, as Mena Emerson was a witch in her third year of schooling at Durmstrang. Buffy had decided to send Dawn on this mission as her usual recruiters were all detained getting other girls to bring back to London. Willow and another Slayer, Bryanna, had flown to Scotland two days ago because the Council’s Seers had found two new girls, and Xander had gone to South Africa for another one. All of these girls would hopefully be heading back to London to begin their Slayer training.
After Willow had used the power of the scythe to give all Slayer Potentials the power of the Slayer sixteen years ago, Buffy had made it her mission to find all of the girls all over the world and train them. Along with Giles, the two of them had completely reformed and restructured the Watcher’s Council. It had taken several years to get a good system down and start running things smoothly, but Dawn could hardly remember the first few years as shortly thereafter, she had gone to school at Oxford and hadn’t been around.
Although she had known that Buffy would have hired her to be a part of the Council without a degree, Dawn knew instinctively that her degree in linguistics would make her a valuable asset. She had graduated at the top of her class and had recently completed her doctorate. The ability to understand, speak, and translate several languages had helped Dawn to rise quickly as a full-fledged Watcher and Buffy had given her the additional position of the Council’s Chief Linguistics Analyst.
“I think you vill be able to see the school,” Viktor answered slowly, bringing Dawn out of her reverie. “Most Muggles cannot because they do not know about it, but if you know vot you are looking for, you can find it.”
Not even a moment after he had said it, a large, stone castle appeared as if from out of thin air on a high hill ahead of them. Dawn gasped with astonishment.
Viktor gave an awkward smile. “I remember the first time I saw the castle. I felt very small when I looked up at it.”
“Kind of how I feel right now?” Dawn grinned at him. “I’ve honestly never seen anything like it. I wish I had been a witch and gone to a school like yours.”
Krum secretly wished the same thing.
“I never asked,” Dawn said, “what do you do there?”
“I am the flying instructor and Quidditch coach,” he answered.
“Okay, forgive me because I am obviously magically inept, but what in the frilly heck is ‘Quidditch’?”
Apparently this had been the thing that they should have been talking about since Viktor had picked Dawn up at the train station. Quidditch was obviously his first love and Dawn listened attentively as he described the rules of the game and all of the games he had attended or played in for the Bulgarian team several years ago. This lecture in the wizarding sport took them right to the doors of the castle, where Viktor pointed his wand at one of the large granite doors, gave the wand a little wave and the door opened with a large groan.
“Follow me,” Viktor said. “She vill be in classes right now.” Viktor began to walk briskly along the hallways of the school, Dawn looking every which direction as she trotted slightly behind him.
Unfamiliar with the ways of wizarding schools, Dawn hadn’t earlier questioned why this new slayer was in school in the middle of the summer. Now following her guide, it occurred to her that this seemed slightly out of the norm. “So, do you guys have summer school or something? Because it occurs to me that I don’t usually come find girls at school in the middle of the summer.”
Viktor nodded. “Some times we have students who want to further their education and get ahead so they take classes in the summer.” He paused in front of a large oak door. “Wait here,” Viktor said quietly. “I will get Mena.”
Dawn waited patiently outside while Viktor went into the classroom. Carved into the wall across the hallway was a circle with what looked like a large stick crossing through it surrounded by a large triangle had just caught her attention when the door opened again and Viktor entered the hallway with a young girl right behind him.
She was very small, even for her age of thirteen, Dawn noticed immediately. Her white-blonde hair was cut in a chin-length bob, giving her the appearance of a very pale elf. Dark brown eyes looked up inquisitively at Dawn, who smiled gently.
“Hello,” she greeted the girl softly. “My name is Dawn and I’ve come to talk to you about something.”
“Is it about why I am so strong all of a sudden?”
Dawn nodded, taken aback. This girl certainly didn’t beat around the bush. “Have you noticed anything else lately? Besides being strong?”
Before Mena could answer, Viktor jumped in. “I do not mean to interrupt, but perhaps we should take this some place more private.”
Dawn nodded her agreement and she and Mena followed him to a deserted classroom. Once Viktor had left the room and shut the door, Dawn turned back to Mena.
“I am very fast,” Mena continued, her accent nearly as thick as Viktor’s. “And, when I have been hurt, I-” she stopped, wondering if this woman standing before her would believe what she was going to say next.
“You what?” Dawn asked, sure she knew the answer.
“I heal very fast. I think I might have broken my wrist last week, but it was fine the next day.”
Dawn only smiled and nodded with understanding. Taking a deep breath, she began to tell Mena the reason she was there. She always found this to be the hardest part. “Mena, I’m going to tell you something that might be hard to accept, but I ask that you please listen to what I have to say.”
Mena nodded and looked attentively at Dawn.
“I work for a group of people, called the Watcher’s Council,” Dawn began. “A long time ago, these men decided that this girl should fight demons and monsters and other evil things. For generations, there was always only one girl in the whole world who had the strength and skill to fight the vampires, until about sixteen years ago when one of these girls decided to change everything and now any girl who might have been a Slayer, will be a Slayer. One of the witches in our coven discovered that you are a Slayer, Mena, and I am here to ask if you would come back to London with me to begin your training.”
To say that Mena looked shocked would have been an understatement. A gamut of emotions crossed over the girl’s face until she finally settled for one of resigned sadness. “I do not have a choice? I must go with you?”
Dawn shook her head. “You always have a choice. That was the whole point of sharing the power. See, Buffy never had a choice really. She couldn’t walk away from it, one because that’s just who she is, but also because she was the only one who could fight. We give all the girls who have been called the chance to decide what they want to do. I can only recommend that you come and train for a few months so that you can learn how to control your strength. Beyond that, it is entirely your decision.”
Mena sighed. “I vill go with you. But where will I go to school? I wish to continue my magical schooling.”
Dawn frowned. “I’m not sure. We’ll figure something out once we get back to London. As for right now, if you would like to pack your things and say goodbye to your friends, I will be waiting in the headmaster’s office.”
“What will I tell them?” Mena wondered out loud.
“That is entirely up to you,” Dawn said. “You can tell them the truth if you want to, but it may put them in danger. Or tell them you have been accepted into a special program and you will contact them soon to tell them more about it.”
Mena nodded and stood, facing Dawn. “How long do I have?”
“As long as you need,” Dawn said, also rising to her feet. “I will be waiting for you.”
As Mena took off in the direction of her dormitory, Dawn looked down the hallway, wondering exactly where the headmaster’s office was located. Just as she was about to go in the opposite direction Mena had, Viktor came back around the corner. “I saw Mena leaving,” he explained. “How did it go?”
“Surprisingly well,” Dawn told him. “She accepted everything I told her immediately and she’s gone to pack and say her goodbyes.”
“The headmaster’s office is down this hallvay,” Krum pointed to a corridor to their left.
“Say, Viktor,” Dawn said suddenly, “Mena was concerned about how she was going to continue her magical education. Any thoughts?”
“Vell, there is Hogwarts,” Krum said thoughtfully. “It is the most famous school of witchcraft and wizardry in England.”
Dawn clapped her hands together loudly and jumped as the sound echoed off the stone walls. “Perfect! I’m sure we can work something out now. Mena will be so pleased!”
At last, they reached a large statue of someone who looked vaguely familiar to Dawn. They stood in front of it and Viktor placed a large, rough hand on its gray stone foot, speaking to it. “Deathly Hallows.”
The statue slowly moved aside, the sound of granite scraping against granite echoing down the hallway. “He has left,” a low, gravelly voice emitted from it, “but you may go in.”
Dawn followed Viktor into a large room where he sat down, but she continued to look around, completely in awe of everything. The room itself was three levels, each one a different shape. Several portraits hung on the walls, the largest one of a man with long gray hair and beard hung behind the desk where Viktor sat, and Dawn could have sworn she heard someone snoring. The view of snow-capped mountains was visible from the large picture window facing the northern sky. Dawn stifled a gasp as something that looked remarkably like a dragon flew off in the distance.
What caught Dawn’s eye, however, was not any of these things. No, she had once again caught sight of the symbol she had seen earlier carved into the wall. A circle with a line through it, surrounded by a triangle. It was obviously important, but what did it mean? “Viktor,” she said, startling him, “what is that symbol?”
“Ah.” Viktor shifted uncomfortably. “I don’t suppose you haff ever heard of Grindelwald?”
Dawn frowned at him from across the room. “I think I remember reading about him when I was training to become a Watcher. He killed a ton of people back in the 1940’s and ended being sentenced to life in prison, didn’t he? But I don’t see what he has to do with the wizarding world.”
“He was a very famous wizard many years ago. Many people believed this was his symbol, but it was his desire to find the things that the symbol represents. If he had been successful in uniting the items, he would have been the conqueror of death.”
“He should have just talked to Buffy,” Dawn muttered.
“Sorry, never mind. So I take it he didn’t succeed then?”
Viktor shook his head. “Many Muggles lost their lives in his quest for ‘the greater good’. He was defeated in a vizarding duel against a very powerful wizard, Albus Dumbledore, and sent to Nurmengard, where he eventually died.”
“Sucks to be him. So this Grindelwald guy carved the symbol into the wall then?”
“Yes. And our current headmaster keeps it here to remind himself how dangerous it would be to go looking for the items. We are well-known for our dark arts education, but we are not stupid. The quest for immortality is very dangerous.”
“I definitely concur,” Dawn said, sitting in the overstuffed armchair across from the desk. “Does this symbol have a name, then? I mean, what is it exactly?”
“It can be found in an old wizard fairy tale,” Viktor replied, “its secrets hidden within the pages of a children’s book so that only the most discerning of wizards vould know the truth. The symbol is known as the Deathly Hallows. The line represents the Elder Wand or Deathstick. It has been the cause off many bloody battles in wizarding history. The triangle is an Invisibility cloak that will hide and protect it’s user from most curses. And the circle is the Resurrection Stone vich will bring the holder’s loved ones back from the dead, but they are separated by a veil.”
“And if someone were to unite all three of the Hallows, they would defeat death?”
“Has anyone tried to do that since Grindelwald?”
“There were rumors, many years ago, but the only known item still in existence is the Invisibility cloak.”
Dawn sat back in the chair, her fingers steepled underneath her chin and closed her eyes in thought. Finding the Deathly Hallows was certainly a heady idea, but, as Viktor had said, very dangerous. No, it was better instead to return to the Council with Mena and continue on with the mission they had set forth so many years ago.
Just then, the door to the headmaster’s office slowly opened and Mena Emerson entered awkwardly, a large trunk behind her, and resting on top of it was a large cage which held a beautiful eagle owl whose head was hidden under its wing. As for Mena, she was looking fixedly at the floor, her bangs hanging forward, shoulders shaking silently.
Dawn quickly rose to her feet and strode over to the young girl. Putting an arm over Mena’s shoulders, Dawn pulled her into a tight embrace. “It’s hard to leave, I know,” she whispered. “Are you having second thoughts?”
Mena shook her head. “No. This is my calling. My mother always taught me the utmost devotion to whatever destiny has in store for me.”
“Let’s go then,” Dawn said, taking the owl’s cage. “Do you need help with your trunk?” She looked at Mena then laughed. “No, of course you don’t. Let’s be off.”
Viktor walked over to hold the door open as Dawn and Mena backed their way into the antechamber outside the office. “It vos very nice to meet you,” he said gruffly.
“Oh, Viktor,” Dawn said, looking up at him. “Thank you so much for all your help. Um, but I do have one more thing to ask you.”
Viktor raised a bushy eyebrow.
“How are we getting back to London?”
“You will take a Portkey.”
Mena placed a hand on the older woman’s arm. “Don’t worry,” she said. “I’ll show you how.”
Viktor pulled a small trinket out of his robes and offered it to Dawn who looked at it, confusion evident on her face. “Okay, I don’t get it.”
“This object has a spell placed on it that will transport you to the Watcher’s Council. Mena will take the Floo Netvork since she has so many belongings. All you need to do is touch the necklace.”
Still skeptical, Dawn did as she was told, gasping as she felt herself spinning faster and faster, hurtling through space. Finally, she stopped without warning and landed face first on some very plush carpet. Feeling more embarrassed than anything, Dawn rose and began to brush herself off, not giving much mind to her surroundings. At last, she looked up and found herself face to face with a man she had never seen before. He had long, almost silvery, white hair that had been pulled back into a sleek ponytail, ice blue eyes and a cold gaze to match. He wore emerald green wizarding robes, obviously made from the finest of materials.
“Oops,” Dawn said sheepishly. “Must have made a wrong turn somewhere.”
The man merely continued to glower at her, lips pressed together.
“So,” Dawn continued brightly, “who are you?”
The day had ended and the people of London were scurrying about, trying to get home from a long day’s work. Most of them hardly noticed the brick building on the corner of Gloucester Road as it looked completely normal. It stood about five stories tall, had plenty of windows and its sloping roof was made entirely of windows. This was, perhaps, the most interesting thing about the building. Other than that, passersby never gave a thought to what might be going on inside. Had anyone ever bothered to look in one of the windows, they might have been shocked at what they would find.
Besides black marble floors in the foyer, there was a library in the center of the building that reached all five stories. Each floor contained three training rooms for sparring and working out, an auditorium-like conference room could be found on the east side, and several plush offices were located on the upper floors. Even more amazing was the fact that each of the training rooms were filled to capacity with girls of all ages at all hours of the day, and each of these girls, although they did not look like much, were Vampire Slayers.
Buffy Summers, the oldest Slayer in the history of the Slayer line, was in such a room at the moment overseeing thirty girls who had come from all over the world to the Watcher’s Council to train and become the women they were meant to be. Most of them were very young although none was younger than thirteen, as this was the age they had decided the Potentials would come into their power. The older girls helped the younger ones by giving pointers during training sessions and Buffy leaned against the wall, smiling to herself as one of her veterans showed a young girl with short, curly brown hair how to perfect her roundhouse kick.
After a moment, she stepped away from the wall and clapped her hands together two times. The sound echoed through the room and the Slayers immediately stopped what they were doing and turned to face Buffy, at complete attention. “You all look great! Pretty soon you won’t need me at all and then I can take that vacation I’ve been wanting for thirty-three years,” she joked. The girls all giggled, exchanging glances with one another. Typically, when Buffy started joking it meant that she wanted them to try something new and very difficult. Indeed, when she began to speak a moment later, she had lost her lighthearted tone. “I feel very confident in letting a few of you out into the field within the next week,” she began. Murmurs of excitement began to spread through the crowd. “Don’t get too excited yet. I need to work out a plan first. Now, as for you girls who have only been a here a short time, this is the time for you to start getting out from under the older girls’ shadows. I know their help has been invaluable to you and I have told you time and again that we are all family here. However, you will not always be able to rely on the strength of others. Use this time to build your own strength and--”
But what else they were supposed to do, they didn’t get to hear because the door to the training room was suddenly flung open, causing everyone to jump with surprise. A young man with dark blonde hair burst into the room, gasping. “Buffy!”
Buffy couldn’t help but roll her eyes. “What is it Andrew? You’re interrupting an important training session.”
“Oh, sorry.” He looked around and noticed all the girls standing around not doing anything. “If they’re training, why isn’t there more fighting?” He asked, turning back to Buffy, then paling a bit when she turned the evil eye on him. “It’s Mr. Giles. He said he needs to speak with you because it’s very important. “
“Giles?” Buffy walked briskly over to where Andrew was standing.
Andrew nodded. “He said he got a phone call from someone and he really needed to talk to you.”
“Okay,” Buffy said. “Just give me a minute. Ladies, you are free to go. Excellent work this evening!”
Andrew hurriedly pushed the door back open, giving himself and Buffy just enough time to get out before the stampede of Slayers completely crushed them. “Sorry to interrupt the training,” he said as he trotted along beside Buffy. “Mr. Giles said he wouldn’t have sent me, but it was ‘of vital importance that he spoke with you immediately’,” Andrew told her, adopting a British accent as he echoed Giles.
“It’s okay, Andrew,” Buffy reassured him. “We were almost done anyway.” They reached the elevator and rode up to the fifth floor in silence, both looking up at the digital screen as the floor numbers flashed methodically by. At last, the elevator reached the fifth floor and Andrew hung back as Buffy exited into the hallway.
“I’ve got some things to take care of,” he said.
“Thanks, Andrew. I think I can take it from here,” Buffy smiled at him as the elevator doors closed. Then she turned and walked briskly down the hallway to Giles’ office. Her thoughts whirling as she tried to think what could be so urgent, Buffy took a deep breath, smoothed down her hair a bit and knocked on the door.
“Come in,” called a muffled voice.
Buffy opened the door slowly and poked her head inside. “Mr. Wells said you were in need of my company,” she said, assuming a fake British accent.
Giles looked up from the desk, his expression relaxing slightly when he caught sight of her. “Ah. Yes, Buffy, come in. Sit down.”
Buffy did as she was told and looked across the desk at Giles who had resigned to looking back down at the desk. Buffy continued to look the top of his head, which was still covered by thick, wavy hair, and began to drum her fingers on her thigh. This went on for about half a minute before Buffy decided she could stand it no longer. “Giles,” she said.
“I’m getting married.”
“That’s good. Very good,” he muttered distractedly.
“Okay, so that didn’t work,” Buffy murmured under her breath. “Let’s try this one: Giles?”
“I’m going to have a baby, but it’s the product of a wild and passionate night with Clem. Who do you think it’ll look like? Because I don’t think I can afford that much skin cream.”
“That’s…what??” Giles finally looked up, staring at Buffy in shock.
“Finally,” Buffy said, exasperated. “You are way distracted, Giles. What’s up?”
Giles removed his glasses and frowned as he looked through them. “I can’t ever seem to keep these clean,” he remarked. “I just spoke with a very interesting man. Kingsley Shacklebolt.”
“Who’s he?” Buffy asked curiously.
“The British Prime Minister of Magic,” Giles said, looking at Buffy to gage her reaction.
“The British Prime Minister of who?”
Giles hid a smile. “Actually, that would be a what, but that’s beside the point. Apparently, there is a whole other world of witches and wizards we have been completely unaware of.”
It was now Buffy’s turn to frown as she stared at Giles. “Where have they been?” She finally asked.
“According to Mr. Shacklebolt,” Giles told her, “they have been living in secret alongside humans for several hundreds of years. There are wizarding communities located all over Europe and Britain as well as a few wizarding schools.”
“They have schools for people who can do magic? Wait till Willow hears this,” she muttered.
Giles nodded. “I had the same thought,” he told her. “Why wouldn’t they have contacted Willow and offered her a place at Hogwarts? But the Hellmouth would have blocked any trace the Ministry of Magic might have out on Willow.”
“Okay, two things,” Buffy began, “one, what in the heck is ‘Hogwarts’ and two, they have a Ministry of Magic?”
“Hogwarts is the school for witches and wizards located in Britain. And yes, they have a Ministry of Magic.”
“So what did this Tacklebox guy want anyway?” Buffy asked, finally trying to get Giles to cut to the chase.
Giles shook his head amazed that even after so many years Buffy could always find a way to butcher somebody’s name. “Shacklebolt,” he corrected her automatically. “He wants protection for Hogwarts. There is evidence of a new dark wizard on the rise and there is fear for the student’s safety. There has been much debate, I hear, about the Ministry mixing company with the Slayers, and Shacklebolt’s decision has not been very popular with some of the more influential members of the wizarding world.”
Buffy’s eyes narrowed. She suspected this Ministry of Magic was run very much like the way the Council had been in the past. “And why don’t they like the idea?” She asked, a tone of irritation entering her voice.
“Many wizards have the view that Muggles do not belong in their world. They prefer to keep the magic within those who are considered purebloods. And you, along with the other Slayers, pose a new threat as you are something with which they have never come into contact.”
” Buffy glared over the desk at Giles, who flushed.
“Well, you are somewhat other than human,” he offered feebly. “At any rate, this Shacklebolt fellow wishes for you to meet with the head of their Auror department.” Seeing that Buffy was going to ask him what exactly an Auror was, he added, “The Aurors are evidently the magical world’s version of the FBI. I believe the man’s name was Harry Potter.”
“Harry Potter, huh? And what do we know about Harry Potter?” Buffy asked, leaning back and crossing her arms over her small frame.
Giles then launched into an explanation of Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived. He told Buffy the entire tragic story of how a wizard named Voldemort (here he paused, saying that most wizards didn’t even say the name because everyone was so afraid of him) killed Harry’s parents and then tried to murder Harry as well, but the spell backfired and Harry survived while “You-Know-Who” was reduced to a mere shadow. Fast forward about sixteen years later, and about the same time Buffy had put a sword through her ex-lover’s heart, Harry was defeating this Voldemort chap. He had joined the Aurors and quickly became Head of the Auror Department. Shacklebolt was hoping that Harry and Buffy could meet and work together to protect Hogwarts and possibly bring down this new power, Giles finally concluded.
Buffy nodded slowly, still digesting everything. She saw a lot of herself in this Harry Potter. Both called to do great things for the good of mankind, both had beaten death; a few times, from the sound of things, and they both held the weight of the world on their shoulders. “The Girl Who Died meets the Boy Who Lived,” she murmured. “When will I meet him?”
Before Giles could answer, a voice spoke into the room, unoccupied save for Buffy and Giles. “Mr. Harry Potter requests a meeting with Buffy Summers, Vampire Slayer,” it said.
Buffy’s eyes widened as she realized that the portrait behind Giles had just moved. “Um, Giles, did you know that that picture just spoke?”
Giles smiled awkwardly. “Er, yes. That was how I knew that Mr. Shacklebolt was coming.”
“Ohh-kayy,” Buffy responded, still slightly wigged at the sight of a talking portrait.
“Mr. Potter awaits your answer,” the portrait said again.
Buffy jumped. “Oh! Um, tell him I’ll see him,” she stammered.
The man in portrait bowed, turned around and walked out of the side of the painting until he had disappeared completely.
Buffy’s mouth hung open in shock. “And I thought I’d seen just about everything,” she murmured disbelievingly.
“As had I,” Giles responded with a teasing grin, “but I never thought I would see the day when you were speechless.”
“Oh, shut up,” Buffy retorted.
Giles was about to counter with a scathing remark, when he saw Buffy’s mouth fall open again and her finger pointing at something behind him. He leaped up from his chair, and quickly spun around, wishing he had something more than his fists available to him at the moment, and saw a grown man climbing out of the portrait behind him. “Dear Lord!” He exclaimed loudly.
“Sorry,” the man offered, smiling apologetically. “I forget that Muggles aren’t used to wizarding forms of travel.” He was tall and well-built, he wore clothes that Buffy could only assume were normal wizarding apparel; underneath the emerald green cloak, he wore all black, a stark contrast to his somewhat pale face. He had dark hair that stuck up all over, yet it had that sort of flattened look as though he had tried to tame it but eventually had given up the battle. In the middle of his forehead was a lightning shaped scar, but the thing that drew Buffy’s attention the most were his piercing green eyes. She found herself staring into them and only came out of her reverie when the man introduced himself. “Harry Potter,” he said, holding out a hand.
Buffy jumped up and took it, shaking it profusely. “Nice to meet you,” she breathed. “I’m Buffy.”
Harry gently withdrew his hand from her grasp and massaged it, wincing as he did so. “Nice grip you’ve got there,” he joked.
“Oh, God, I’m so sorry!” Buffy exclaimed, the embarrassment causing red spots to form on her face.
Giles finally spoke. He had been examining the portrait, trying to find if it had some kind of dimensional portal he had never noticed before. It looked completely normal. “Please, sit down,” he said, pointing at another armchair which was the twin to the one Buffy was currently occupying.
Harry did so obligingly, clasping his hands over a long wooden stick that lay in his lap. “Thank you for meeting with me,” he turned to Buffy. “Kingsley thinks that it would be a good idea for us to work together.”
“So I hear,” Buffy replied. “How is this all supposed to work exactly? I mean, do you expect all of us to just pack up and go to some magical school without knowing any magic or anything? My girls are good in a fight, but something about magic just gives me the chills. They don’t know how to fight that. I’m not even sure if they could even if they did know how.”
Harry listened patiently as this girl who looked like a good breeze might blow her over voiced her concerns. He raised one eyebrow at her. “Did you think we would let you go unprepared?” Harry finally asked. “I have done much research on you and this Watcher’s Council. You will all receive magical training before the start of the school term in September and you will all continue with that training so to better protect he students.”
“I can’t do magic,” Buffy protested.
Harry smiled, his eyes twinkling just as another wizard had done many years ago. “You only think you can’t. Not everyone can pick up a wand and perform magic, but the Slayer is created out of a magical essence. You have the innate ability; you just haven’t learned how to use it.”
“Now, I understand if you don’t want to bring all of the girls to Hogwarts. There is no reason the Council can’t remain in operation under someone else’s command,” Harry told her. “Besides that, I wouldn’t put all my eggs in one basket.”
Buffy nodded in agreement. “We have another location in Rome for that exact purpose,” she said. “So tell me more about this new dark power guy. Is he enough to pose a threat?”
Harry looked out the window, wondering how much to tell her. It wasn’t that anything was a secret, exactly, he just wasn’t sure how much to he could trust this woman. “He could be,” he admitted finally. “We went to school together and he always had the students in his house in his back pocket because of his father’s influence.”
“House?” Buffy interrupted.
“Like dormitories,” Harry explained patiently. “Anyway, I suppose if anyone were going to try to take up the mantle of the next dark lord, it would be him.”
Buffy nodded slowly. “And is he very powerful?”
“He’s been laying low for a while now which is why we’re getting concerned,” Harry said. “Besides that, there have been many unexplained disappearances recently. He was a decent wizard while we were at Hogwarts and he’s certainly had enough time to become stronger and more powerful,” he added.
“Disappearances? Isn’t that enough cause for alarm?” Giles interjected.
It was then Harry’s turn to nod. “It’s like Voldemort all over again,” he said. “In fact, a young woman disappeared right out of another wizarding school earlier this evening. I received intelligence about it just before I came to meet with you from an ally at the school.”
“What does he want?” Buffy asked directly. “I mean, bad guys usually have something they’re working for; what’s his MO?”
Harry frowned, trying to rack his brain. “Y’know, I’m not entirely sure. Knowing this guy, he probably just wants more power and the notoriety that comes along with being a dark wizard.”
“Okay, so no known goal, check,” Buffy said. “But you’re certain that the students will be in danger from this guy?”
“It’s a safe assumption at this point until we know more. Last time, with Voldemort, the students were mostly kept in the dark due to the Ministry’s interference.” Harry scowled as he stared down at his hand, scars that had faded long ago suddenly seemed to stand out to Buffy as she looked down too, her eyes widening with horror and revulsion. I must not tell lies.
“I want the students to be prepared to fight. Many of them are more than capable to do so and that’s partly where you all come in. I want you there to protect them, yes, but I also want you to help train them to be battle-ready.”
“So a ‘hands-on’ approach, then?” Buffy asked, looking to Harry for confirmation, who nodded. “How many of us do you want?”
Harry did a quick mental calculation. “Let’s see, there are four houses, if we had two of you per house, yes, yes, that would be fine. Could you provide eight girls?”
“Yeah, I think we can manage that,” Buffy said laughing. “You do know that we have hundreds of girls to choose from, don’t you?”
“Well, yes, but as I said, I don’t want to deplete you of your resources. Could you put together a list of the Slayers you might be bringing and give it to me by tomorrow?” Buffy nodded, making herself a mental note. “Good. Now that we have all of the business out of the way, I wouldn’t be opposed to a tour of the Council,” Harry said, rising from his seat. “I’d like to see how you do things around here.”
Buffy stood as well and looked at Giles questioningly. “You go on ahead,” he said to her. “We can discuss which girls will be good options later.”
Nodding, Buffy led the way out the door and down the hallway. It took about an hour for Buffy to show Harry the entire layout of the Council, including it’s very extensive occult library. “My friend Hermione would have kittens if she ever walked into this place,” Harry commented upon first entering. As Buffy gave him the tour, she launched into an explanation of how everything they were looking at had come to pass. She told him about Glory and how she had died to save the world and the fact that her resurrection had caused irrevocable damage to the Slayer line, which of course had led to the defeat of the First and the Calling of all Potential Slayers.
“I think if the Council hadn’t been made up of a bunch of pompous old British men who were too stuck up on their high horses to come down to earth and help us, things between us may have gone a lot smoother,” Buffy said. “No offense.”
“None taken,” Harry replied, “as I am neither pompous, old, or stuck up on my high horse. But I understand what you mean. Back when Voldemort had risen to power the second time, the Minister of Magic at the time actually had the gall to ask me to ‘pop in and out of the Ministry occasionally’ to put on the appearance that we were working together.”
“What did you tell him,” Buffy asked, aghast.
“I said that would mean that I supported what the Ministry was doing, and I didn’t. They spread rumors and lies about me for a year before they finally believed me. I wasn’t about to hop on the Ministry of Magic Support Train just then.”
“Kingsley Shacklebolt became the Minister. It happened almost immediately after I killed Voldemort. He did a complete overhaul of the Ministry, especially since Death Eaters had infiltrated, and now everyone goes through extensive background checks. He’s also not nearly as power hungry as Fudge and Scrimgeour were, so he doesn’t feel threatened by people who are more powerful than he is.”
Buffy nodded, understanding this completely. They walked a bit further down the second floor corridor when Harry broke the silence, changing the subject. “So you died huh? What was it like? Did you go to a train station?”
Buffy thought this was a rather odd question and stared at Harry, trying to determine if he was mentally unstable. “A train station?”
“Yeah. That’s where I went,” Harry told her.
“Wait a gosh-darn cotton-pickin’ minute here,” Buffy stopped in her tracks. “Do you mean to tell me that you died, too?”
Harry shrugged. “More or less.”
“And you went to a train station?”
Buffy nodded slowly, not quite sure what to think. “How did you die?” She finally asked.
Harry then told her about Voldemort and Horcruxes, how he had actually been mistakenly made into one, and that in order for Voldemort to die, he, Harry, would have to die first. “When I went to sacrifice myself, I had no idea that I would ultimately live. It had something to do with the bit of his soul finally being detached from mine, I think. But that act protected all of the people fighting against him from any spells he tried to perform afterwards. It wasn’t long after I had come back that one of my friends, Neville, destroyed the final horcrux and I was able to kill Voldemort.”
Buffy shook her head in amazement. “Wow. We really do have a lot in common,” she remarked finally. “I’ve still died more times than you have, though.”
Harry chuckled amusedly. “Not many people would brag about that, you know.”
“I had a hard time with it after coming back the second time,” she said, shrugging. “My friends thought they were saving me from a hell dimension. I would have preferred to just stay dead.”
Harry raised his eyebrows in shock as he looked down at the petite blond. Buffy noticed this and stopped outside some large oak doors. “It’s the price you pay for being the Slayer. An automatic death sentence and a bit of a death wish,” she told him, placing a hand on the door knob and turning it. “This is our lounge. Sometimes the girls need a place to come and just chill, you know?”
Harry nodded that he understood completely and followed her inside. Judging by his sharp intake of breath, Buffy saw that he was very impressed. Several girls sat in plush deep red couches and armchairs all chatting animatedly in front of a large fireplace. The wall to the left of them was their computer station where they were encouraged to do homework and keep in contact with their families. No one was ever completely cut off from where they came from; Buffy had made sure of that. A door on the other side of the room led to a small arcade room where they could hear shrieks and laughter. Had it not been for all of the technology, Harry would have been reminded of the Gryffindor common room. “Whoa,” he said finally.
Hearing this, several of the girls turned around and gave Harry an appraising glance. He was obviously too old for them, but they didn’t get a lot of contact with the other gender and this guy was very pleasing to the eye. Harry smiled at them and one of them actually gave him a small wave and winked at him. “I think I’ve just been propositioned,” he muttered to Buffy who laughed.
“Sorry about that,” she said. “Other than Giles and Andrew, you’re the first guy they’ve seen in a long time. They’re a little like bulldogs in a butcher shop.”
“As evidenced by the drool,” Harry grinned.
Buffy stepped forward and rested her arms on top of one of the couches. “All right, girls,” she called out, “curfew! Time for bed!”
A multitude of groans rose up from many of the girls as they began heading to the door. “She just wants the room to herself so they can make out,” one blonde whispered to her friend.
“I heard that, Trinity,” Buffy said. “You’ll need to speak a bit quieter if you don’t want other people to hear you. And you owe me three extra suicides next training session.” The blond, Trinity, groaned but nodded her assent. Suicides here were a bit different from suicides in a typical American high school and all of the girls hated them.
“Good night, girls,” Buffy sang out, smiling. Sitting down on one of the couches, she gestured for Harry to join her. He walked over and positioned himself on the armchair to the right of the couch.
“Well, that was interesting,” he said, rubbing his hands in front of the fire.
Buffy shrugged apologetically. “Like I said, you’re kind a big deal for them.”
“I’m not. Really,” he insisted. “They would have been disappointed anyway. I’m a very happily married man with three kids.”
“Three? Wow. I still haven’t found the right guy,” Buffy said, staring into the fire. “Or maybe I did and I was too blind to see it.”
“I almost was,” Harry told her; also looking at the fire’s crackling flames. “It took me a long time to even realize I liked this girl and then by the time I came to my senses we only dated for a few weeks before I broke up with her.”
“I had to save the world,” he said simply.
Buffy nodded, tears welling in her eyes. Again, she saw just how much they had in common, but in Harry’s case, he had
found the love of his life and she was still alone. Always alone.
Harry saw how quiet Buffy had become and was about to ask her if she was okay when Andrew burst through the door, a young girl trailing closely behind him. She had short blonde hair and big brown eyes that looked around the room frantically. And she was covered in soot. “Oops,” Andrew said, stopping in his tracks. “Sorry to interrupt again Buffy, but there’s something here that needs your attention.”
Buffy stood and walked over. “What happened?” She whispered to Andrew. Harry had risen from the armchair and led the girl over to sit down in front of the fire.
“I’m not sure,” Andrew replied, shaking his head. “She just kind of fell out of the fireplace in the middle of the library. We’ve been running around trying to find you. She says Dawn should have been here already.”
Buffy nodded and sat back down on the coffee table, resting her arms on her knees and taking the young girl’s hands. “Are you Mena?” She asked gently.
The girl looked up slowly and nodded. “Vere is Dawn?” She asked.
“I was kind of hoping you could tell me,” Buffy said.
“Dawn vos supposed to be here. She should haff been here by now. She took a Portkey and I left a little while after she did
through the fire.”
Buffy turned to look at Harry. “What’s a porky?”
Harry laughed, not used to Buffy’s way of botching names of things she wasn’t familiar with. “Port Key,” he said, trying to emphasize the word. “It’s another form of travel that wizards use. Mena,” he said, turning to the girl, “why did you Floo instead of taking the portkey?”
“Professor Krum said I had too much stuff to hold on to and hold the Portkey at the same time, so it was easier to just Floo. I guess the Portkey was set for somewhere else.”
“Krum? Viktor Krum?” Harry asked urgently.
Mena nodded. “Yes. He teaches flying.”
Harry shook his head in disbelief. “I always liked that guy too. Damn!”
Not quite on the same page as Harry and Mena, Buffy began coming to her own conclusions. “Hang on. So Dawn was supposed to take something called a Porky which was supposed to take her here, but it didn’t and you apparently sneezed your way through a fireplace, because some guy named Crumb said you had too much stuff? Can anyone say ‘trap’?” Buffy’s voice began growing more panicked as she questioned Mena, who nodded her affirmation. Buffy turned to Harry, her eyes wide. “Harry,” she said, struggling to keep her voice calm, “what was the name of that school that girl disappeared from you mentioned earlier?”
“Durmstrang Institute,” Harry said.