Once Narcissa was awake again, Giles explained everything. At the end of his tale, she had only one thing to say.
“You mean you’re actually older than I am?”
He chuckled, and nodded.
She let out a relieved sigh. “Oh, good. I was afraid trying to pursue you would be inappropriate.”
He laughed again. “You take things in your stride, I see.”
She smiled. “I was married to a Death Eater, if you recall. I’ve seen too much to shock easily.”
He nodded. “Quite right.” The smile on his face took on a rakish quality. “So, you intended to pursue me?”
Her return smile was unapologetic. “Well, you’re rich, intelligent, emotionally aware of those around you, and an excellent kisser. I see no reason not to.”
His eyes twinkled with laughter. “I like the way you think.” He glanced at his watch. “Unfortunately, we have to cut this short. Last night was proof that the Death Eaters need to be taken care of, and I have things to put into motion.” He shifted back to ‘Harry.’
“Where are you going?” She asked.
“To Gringotts, first and foremost. I have to hold half of my funds back. Then I’ve got a little trip to Ottery St. Catchpole to take care of.” He took her hand in his, kissing it lightly. “I’ll be back soon. Then we can continue this conversation.” He released her hand, and Apparated.
Wearing the same smile she’d had the night before, Narcissa got out of bed. The smile disappeared when she noticed the state of her robes. They’d been practically shredded, and had enough dirt on them to fill a greenhouse. “Oh, damn.” She grabbed her wand from the bedside table. “Reparo. Evanesco.
” Her robes returned to some semblance of presentability. She’d get Drippy to fix it properly.
She headed out to the central room, wondering where Drippy had gotten to. She was hungry, and needed something for breakfast. She was surprised to find four young women there. “Oh! Hello. Has anyone seen my house-elf?”
They turned to look at her, obviously appraising expressions on their faces. They all exchanged glances, and finally the blonde nodded. “You mean Drippy, right? He went home. Said something about ‘Mistress needing robes.’”
Narcissa nodded. It was true, a change of clothes would be fantastic. “Thank you. I take it you’re Buffy? Giles mentioned you.”
Buffy nodded. “Yeah, I am. This is Dawn, Rhona, and Amanda.” She indicated each of the other girls in turn. “And you’re Narcissa Black.”
“Yes, I am.” Narcissa was beginning to feel slightly uncomfortable. Buffy and Dawn were among those Giles considered family. This was as close to ‘meeting the parents’ as she was going to get.
Buffy took a few steps closer. “If you hurt him, I’m going to beat you to death with a shovel. Understood?”
Narcissa nodded slowly.
“Good!” Buffy brightened immediately. “Let’s get some room-service. I’m starving!”
Giles appeared in Ottery St. Catchpole. His business in Gringotts had gone smoothly, and none of the members of the Order had been present.
He walked up to one of the more unusual houses in the area. No matter what kind of anti-muggle wards you might have put on it, it was glaringly
obvious that Wizards lived here.
He knocked on the door. A sandy-haired man answered the door. “Yes? Can I help you?”
Giles blinked in surprise. “Uh… This is the Lovegood estate, isn’t it?”
The man nodded. “Yes. Are you looking for Luna?”
“Yes. My name is Harry. I went to school with her.”
“Harry?” The other man’s eyebrows shot up. “As in Potter? Oh, I’ve been hoping to meet you for a while! Where are my manners.” He held out his hand. “Rolf Scamander. I’m Luna’s boyfriend.”
Giles shook the proffered hand. “Pleasure. Is Luna here? It’s rather urgent that I speak with her.”
“Oh, yes. Sorry. She’s in the lab.” He walked further into the house. “Come on in. I imagine she’ll be… Well, actually I don’t know how she’ll feel about seeing you. Hard to predict, that one.”
Giles laughed. “Truer words.”
Rolf led him down a flight of stairs. This lab was, apparently, in the basement. Rolf knocked on the door. A rather dreamy sounding voice answered. “Come in.”
Rolf opened the door. “Luna? There’s someone here to see you, love.”
“Send them in.” She answered.
Rolf turned around, nodded to Giles, and headed upstairs. Giles walked into the lab.
When Luna saw him, her expression brightened, and she tackled him in a hug. “Oh, Harry! You were able to purge the Darkness! I’m so pleased!”
Giles hugged her back, smiling. “Good to see you, Luna. You have no idea what it’s like without your clarity around to help me.”
She pulled back, a large smile of her own in place. “No, I don’t. How did you manage to get rid of so much black energy so quickly?”
He shifted, just for a moment, into ‘Giles.’
Luna’s brain put it together quickly. “Time travel, then. Impressive. But, I suppose that means you’re not Harry anymore.” There was a hint of sadness in her voice. “What should I call you?”
“Giles will do fine.” He answered. “You know, I’ve always wondered. How do you put things together so quickly? I almost think it’s psychic power, but… That doesn’t seem quite right.”
She shook her head. “No. My mother taught me how to think quickly. If you tap into your magic, just a bit, all the time, you’d be surprised how often you’re right about things. I’ve tried to teach Rolf, but I’m afraid he’s progressing slowly. I’m hoping our twins will be better students.”
“You have twins?” He asked.
“Not yet, but I expect we will. Many of his family members are, or have twins.”
He nodded. “That’s a good skill to have. Would you be willing to teach me? I imagine I’ll need it before this is over.”
She looked at him for a long moment. “You’re planning on going after the remaining Death Eaters. Are you here to ask for my help?”
He nodded. “Yes. I’m going after all the members of the D.A. I can’t really trust the Order anymore, but at the same time, going at it alone will be suicidal.”
Luna nodded. “Excellent. I wondered how long it would take you to realize what you needed to do. Can Rolf come as well?”
Giles nodded, smiling. “If you trust him, Luna, that’s good enough for me. Now, do you know where Godric’s Hollow is?”
“Of course. They made a monument to you and your parents there. There was some talk about turning their old house into a museum, but as they couldn’t find you, that came to a halt quickly.”
“Good. Meet me at my parents’ house in two days. I’ve got a bit more recruiting to do.”
“We’ll be there, Giles. Good luck.” She hugged him again.
“To you as well, Luna.” He replied, returning the hug. After a moment, he pulled back, and Apparated.
Rolf came into the room a moment later. “Everything alright, Luna?”
She gave him a large smile. He’d learned quickly that a smile like this meant life was going to take some interesting turns. “Everything’s fine, Rolf. Come. We’ve got some packing to do.”
Giles arrived back in his room at the suite. His next targets were Hermione and Ron. He might not be able to get them, but it would be more than worth it to try. Hermione was still the brightest witch of her age, and Ron had enough heart for ten people. The only problem was, he had no idea where they were.
He couldn’t go to the Burrow and ask, not after his encounter with Mrs. Weasley. He could try going to George and asking, but at the same time, George might just turn him over to the order. Unless… A feral grin graced Giles’ features. All he needed was back up.
He went to the central room, hoping to find the others. They were sitting at a table, chatting. It seemed they’d ordered breakfast.
“Buffy!” He ran up to them. “Listen, I need your help with something. I’m going into a potentially dangerous situation, and I’m going to need a bodyguard. Care to fill in?”
She shrugged. “Sure. No problem. Where are we headed?”
“Back to Diagon Alley. I need to drop in on an old friend.”
“How friendly is he if you might be attacked?” She asked, grabbing her coat.
“Well, he’s Molly Weasley’s son. I have no doubt he’s heard about my run-in with her at the bank, and the Weasley family tends to stick together.” He held out his arm. “Grab ahold, and brace yourself. This can be a little jarring.”
Buffy grabbed his arm, and he Apparated.
They appeared in front of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. Buffy stumbled a little, but seemed fine otherwise. Having a Slayer’s constitution was useful sometimes.
“So, how are we handling this?” She asked. “You just want me to keep an eye out? Stop him from attacking?”
Giles nodded. “That should do fine. Only if he pulls out his wand, though. Anything else, let me handle it.”
She nodded, and they stepped inside.
“Welcome to Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes!” A voice called from the counter. “Where we hope to zap you in the arse before you leave!” The speaker looked up at the newcomers. “How can I… Harry?”
He nodded. “Hello, George.”
George leapt over the counter. “Harry! What in the name of Merlin’s left nut are you doing here?” He walked up to them, grinning.
“Just need a little information, George, if you’re willing.” Giles responded.
George shrugged. “Sure. Just one thing.” He slugged Giles across the jaw, knocking him to the floor. “That’s for making my mother cry.” He held out his hand. Giles took it, and stood up. “Now, what can I do for you?”
“I need to know where Ron and Hermione are living. I’ve got a new mission, and I’m afraid I’ll need a bit of help.”
“The D.A.?” George guessed. Giles nodded. “Wicked. Can I help?”
“Aren’t you with the Order?” Giles asked.
George shrugged. “Not really. I do things for them once in a while, and I’m on their roster, but after Dumbledore died, you were the commander. You slipped up a bit, but you seem alright now.”
Giles grinned. “George, you were always my favorite twin.” He looked thoughtful. “Well, except for Parvati.”
George laughed. “No argument from me. Now, what are we doing?”
“The Death Eaters. They attacked me last night.”
“Right. I’m guessing the Order is to be left out of the loop?”
“You guess right, Mr. Weasley.”
“Alright, then. Well, to answer your original question, Ron and Hermione have a little place up the coast. They got married about two months ago, and got back from their honeymoon last week.”
“Long honeymoon, eh? Well done, Ron.” Giles grinned. “Right. Are they connected to the floo?”
“That they are. Just a moment.” George waved his wand at the door, flipping the sign to closed. He went over to the fireplace, cast Incendio
, and tossed a handful of powder into the flames. “Ron and Hermione’s house!” He shouted, and stuck his head into the flames. Giles listened to his half of the conversation.
“Hey, little brother! … Well, sod you then. Listen, I’ve got someone here who wants to see you. … No, not like that. Trust me, you’ll want to see this one. Well, actually, there’s two of them. … Glad to hear it. We’ll be through in a second.”
Giles led Buffy over to the fireplace. “Alright, now this is easy. Just step into the flames, and say where you want to go. Like this.” Shooing George out of the way, he stepped inside. “Ron and Hermione’s house!” He shouted. He disappeared in a burst of flame.
When he landed, he found himself facedown on the floor. “Bloody floo network… I swear, it has it in for me.” He stood, shaking himself off. When he looked up, he realized Ron and Hermione were staring at him. “Oh, hello. Nice to see you both again.”
Hermione looked torn between wanting to hug him, and telling him off. Ron was flabbergasted. ‘Harry’ was the last person he’d expected to see.
Buffy and George came through the floo just a moment behind Giles. Buffy looked down at her clothes. “Hey! This is an expensive top! How am I going to get all this dust out of it?!”
George laughed, and waved his wand. The top was good as new.
Buffy favored him with a mega-watt smile. “Thanks!”
Giles just rolled his eyes.
Finally, Hermione spoke. “H-Harry? That’s you, right?”
He grinned at her. “More or less. I don’t go by ‘Harry’ these days. Call me Giles.”
“Giles?” Ron looked very confused. “Strange name, that.”
Giles just laughed. “Yes, well, I like it.”
Hermione began making almost imperceptible movements with her wand. If he hadn’t expected them, Giles would never have noticed. Finally, the tip of the wand glowed a dull white. Hermione’s eyes widened. “You have almost no Black energy in you! There’s no way you could have purged it so quickly!”
“Oh, there are ways, Hermione. Trust me on that. I’ll explain them later. For now, I need your help. Both of you.” He took a deep breath. “I know I have no right to ask, after the way I treated you both. And you have no reason to help me. But I do
want you both with me on this.
“As for what ‘this’ is, I’m going after the Deaters. Final extermination. I’ve got a few new allies, but having my old ones will make this go all that much smoother.”
Hermione looked doubtful. “Har- Er, Giles. Are you sure about this? They’ve been quiet these last few years. Is it really necessary?”
“They kidnapped a friend of mine last night, just to lure me into a trap.” He responded. “And yes, I’m sure it was them. Rodolphus Lestrange was there.”
Ron growled at that name. The Lestranges were one of the most hated families among the Death Eaters, second only to the Malfoys.
“Was he the only one?” Hermione asked.
“No. He had Goyle’s father as well.”
She sighed. “I don’t know, Har- Giles. This sounds too much like war mongering for me.”
Giles was disappointed, but he hid it well. He wouldn’t get her to do this through guilt. “I understand.” He smiled at her. “Either way, it was good seeing you again. And you, Ron.” He turned to George. “Meet us in Godric’s Hollow in two days, alright?” George nodded, and Giles turned to Buffy. “Come on. We can Apparate from here.”
Buffy looked very much relieved. There was only so much damage her clothes could take. They headed for the door.
“Hold on a minute, mate.” Ron called out. “That’s it? You ask once, and you give up?”
Giles turned back. “Like I said, I don’t really have any right to ask for, or expect your help. I won’t pressgang you into it.” He shrugged. “I didn’t really expect anything.”
“But… Harry!” Hermione cried, slipping on his name. “We’re your friends!”
Giles’ expression was one of confusion. “Well, of course you are. I didn’t say that had changed. But, it’s clear to me that you aren’t going to help me. No need to make you uncomfortable. Now, I really do need to go.”
Ron and Hermione exchanged glances. Finally, Hermione sighed. “Dammit, Potter. You’re truly infuriating, you know that?” She took Ron’s had. “We’re in. What do you need?”
Giles face went from surprise to a large grin. “Contact the other members of the D.A. I haven’t kept in touch with them, but I know you. You’ve kept track. Have them come to my parents’ house in two days.”
Hermione nodded. “Does that include Ginny? I know the two of you didn’t part on good terms…”
Giles frowned. “Let her know about it. If she wants to come, she will. She’s good in a fight, and a decent tactician.” He looked at his watch. “Dammit. We’re late. Come on, Buffy. We’ve got to arrange for Xander and the other Slayers to get here.” She grabbed onto his arm, and they Apparated.
Hermione turned to George. “Did he say ‘Slayers’?”
Buffy and Giles quickly made arrangements for Xander and the others to get to England, and for Buffy and Rhona to return to America. Buffy wondered where the group of 15 would stay once the rest of them arrived, but Giles would only say that he’d take care of it.
When they arrived back at the suite, Giles went straight to his room. He was going to be using a lot of magic in the coming days. He needed to center himself. He sat down, and was about to begin his meditation techniques, when there was a knock at the door. He looked up, confused. “Come in.”
Narcissa opened the door. “Hello, Giles.”
“Oh. Narcissa. Please, come in.” He stood. “Can I help you?”
“I was hoping to finish our earlier conversation.” She replied.
“Oh.” He nodded. “Very well.” He waved his hand, summoning two chairs. Instantly, he regretted it. He wasn’t used to performing wandless magic anymore. He’d have to practice. He sat down, indicating the other chair for her.
She sat, looking him in the eye. Neither of them spoke for several seconds. Finally, she broke the silence. “Giles, may I speak frankly?”
He nodded. “Of course. You needn’t ask. I live with Americans, remember?” He grinned at her.
She laughed softly. “Quite so.” She steadied herself, then continued. “It has been… Quite some time for me, if you take my meaning. Since long before my husband died. Once I produced an heir, he was done with me. That was largely why Draco was an only child.”
“Oh.” Giles shifted a bit in his seat. “I… I see. I can’t claim that long a time, although it has been a few years.”
“How long?” She asked.
“A little over four years. As I said, nothing compared to you.”
She laughed again. “Well, for the average male, that’s an eternity.” They both laughed at that, before she became serious again. “In truth, I didn’t mind very much. Once I’d resigned myself that I would be… unfulfilled, I was able to wall that part of myself off. It wasn’t easy, but I carefully maintained my mental blocks.
“After… I saw you yesterday, holding your earring, those walls were eliminated. Not just removed. Torn asunder.” She took in a shaky breath. “I’ve tried to put them back, but… I’m finding it increasingly difficult.”
Giles’ heart was racing now. Once again, his hormones were fighting against his higher brain functions. And, in truth, his higher brain functions weren’t fighting all that hard.
He cleared his throat. “If I take your meaning correctly, you wish to…” He nodded toward the bed.
She nodded. “Yes.” The look in her eyes was a cross between fear and hope.
He licked his lips. “I see.” In that moment, he came to a decision. “Close your eyes.” At her confused expression, he smiled slightly. “Just indulge me for a moment.” She did as he asked, and he took the earring out of his pocket.
He knew from experience that the physical sensations he and his partner felt were magnified by his Veela powers. If this was her first time in over twenty years, he’d do his best to make it memorable. He also knew that, if she had been looking at him when he reached for the totem, he wouldn’t have had time to put it on. He fastened it to his ear. “Alright. Open them.”
She did so, and after exactly one second, launched herself at him. She kissed him desperately, trying to feel every bit of him at once with her hands.
Giles lifted her up, carrying her quickly to his bed. He pulled away just long enough to pull his shirt over his head.
Narcissa simply unfastened her robes, letting them fall away. She could almost feel his eyes running over her body. Her hands flew to his belt, ripping it out of the loops of his pants. Then, she went to work on them.
Once that was done, Giles pushed her down onto the bed, kissing her savagely.
For what seemed like hours, but in reality was only a few minutes, they couldn’t tell where their physical bodies separated. And, depending on one’s perspective, they didn’t. Their magical cores reached out for one another, desperate for a connection to another human being.
Before long, the two of them were crying out loud enough to wake every guest in the hotel (In fact, they later got three separate complaints from some of the other guests).
Narcissa collapsed back onto the bed, panting. Giles just barely managed to keep himself from falling onto her. She kissed him softly, her hand caressing his cheek. “Thank you.”
He grinned down at her. “You’re not done, are you? After so long, I’d expect a bit more eagerness.”
“Oh, you want eagerness, do you?” She grabbed his shoulders, and flipped him onto his back. “I’ll show you eagerness.”