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Professor Potter looked at the woman in front of him, his expression full of apprehension. As far as he knew, this woman was dead… McGonagall had told him as much in her office. Forget, for the moment, that Slayers are classified as Dark Creatures, and their existence kept secret from the general public. Forget that they were currently on a portal to Hell with said Dark Creature. She was supposed to be dead
Right at this moment, he really wished he’d kept the Elder Wand.
Buffy looked at him, concern evident on her face. “Uh… You okay?”
“You… You’re supposed to be dead.” He croaked.
Tom winced. “Oh… Yeah.” He ran over to Buffy’s side. “Their magic can’t revive the dead.” He told her. “They think it’s evil to try. Nec- Necor-” He untwisted his tongue. “Necromancy is one of the ‘Dark Arts.’”
She nodded, understanding. “Right… So, I’m evil, huh?”
He sniggered. “Well, not you, so much as whoever did it.” His laughter grew louder. “Willow, I’m guessing?”
“I’d bet even money.” Buffy grinned. She turned back to Potter and McGonagall. “Alright. Obviously, you’re a little nervous around me. I get that. Maybe we could continue this at my house? I doubt your friend there is comfortable on the concrete.”
Potter looked at the unconscious professor behind him. She did
need a safe place to recover… “Tom… Make no mistake, I in no way trust you or your family, but I’m going to agree to this.”
Tom shrugged. “Cool. You’d better pick her up. I don’t know how to do it with magic.”
“You’re not offended?” Potter asked, surprised.
Tom grinned at him. “This is the Hellmouth, sir. Not trusting anyone is the healthiest thing you can do.”
By the time they got back to the house, everyone else had beaten them home. Willow, Xander, and Dawn all wrapped Buffy up in a large group hug as soon as she was through the door. Tara hung back. She may have been Buffy’s friend, to a point, but the two had never been close. Tom, seeing this, gave her a hug himself. “No one gets left out.”
Professor Potter watched the scene with mixed feelings. Clearly, this was a close-knit group. The love they felt for each other was almost tangible. How could they be guilty of such dark magic? And Tom… He was being fair. Including those who wouldn’t include themselves. Minerva might have been right about him…
He cleared his throat. “Excuse me, and I beg you never to mention I said this, but Professor McGonagall is getting a bit heavy. If I could come in?”
The welcoming party broke up, leaving him room to pass through. He came in, and set McGonagall on the couch. Cracking his neck, he sat on a nearby chair. “Well… This was an interesting night. I don’t think I’ve ever been demon hunting before. Horcruxes, Dark Wizards, the occasional wild werewolf… But no demons.” He thought for a moment. “Not sure I want to repeat the event, either.”
Buffy laughed, and sat opposite him. “Probably not.” Everyone grabbed seats. “So, Potter, huh? How’s Tom doing in school?”
He looked at her, incredulous. “You’ve just been brought back from the dead, been dug out of your grave, fought demons, and you want to talk about Tom’s grades?”
She shrugged. “I figure, get the easy stuff out of the way first. That way, the big questions come a bit easier.”
That… actually made some sense. He shrugged. “He’s actually doing well, for a first-year. Better than I did, but my teacher in first-year was a possessed wanker. I’m not sure about the rest. You’d have to ask his head of house.”
Buffy nodded. “Cool.” She looked over at Tom. “Made any friends?” She smiled.
He grinned back. “Yep! Luna Potter, and Jason Granger. They’re awesome.”
Buffy turned back to the professor. “Potter?”
“My daughter.” He explained, gritting his teeth slightly. It didn’t go unnoticed.
Buffy frowned. “Guys… I need Tom out of the room.”
“What?” Tom was surprised. “Buffy-”
“No arguments, Tom. Leave. Everyone else too.” Everyone heard the ‘Slayer’ tone, and did as they were told. Buffy looked Potter square in the eye. “Okay. No bull. What’s your problem with him? I caught your reaction to him hanging with your daughter.”
Potter sighed, then took a deep breath. “Several years ago, there was a Dark Wizard, name of Voldemort. He was hell-bent on killing me, and taking over the whole bloody world.
“I fought him for seven years, from the age of eleven to seventeen. He was evil, in the truest sense of the word. By the time I was fifteen, I’d failed to protect two people from him or his followers. The first was… You know, I can’t even call him my friend. I didn’t know him well enough. I knew he was a good person, but I never took the time.” He shook his head. “Some hero I turned out to be…
“The second was my godfather. Closest thing to a blood relative I’d had at the time, not counting my aunt. And believe me, we’re not counting her.
“Finally, at the final battle, Voldemort killed several members of a family I was quite close to. They’re known as the Weasleys. The first two to fall were Molly and Arthur, the head of the clan. Then, two of their eldest sons, Charlie and Percy. Good lads, both of them. Percy was a bit of a prat, but he joined us in the end.
“And, finally, my best friend. Ron. Voldemort killed Ron himself. He’d ordered all his Death Eaters to leave me and my closest friends for himself. He got Ron, and almost got my other best friend, Hermione. I managed to get her to safety.
“Long story short, I killed him. I managed to defeat the most powerful Wizard in history. The last I saw of him, he was a pathetic little whisp of soul, blowing away in the wind.”
Buffy nodded. “Okay… What’s this got to do with Tom?”
The Professor held up his hands. “Please, be patient. I’m a teacher. Lecturing comes with the territory. Anyway, something that not many knew at the time, was that Voldemort’s real name was Tom Marvolo Riddle. That was the first similarity between Voldemort and Tom I noticed.
“The second was Tom’s appearance. He looks exactly
like Voldemort did at that age. The only difference is his hair-style, and clothes. Not only that, he uses Voldemort’s wand. But… The biggest clue came today. He was in my class, when he suddenly clutched his head, and fell to the ground. I would have helped him, but I was doing the same thing. He saw a vision, of your grave. He saw what your friends were doing. I know, because I saw it as well. Voldemort and I had a connection, and it seems Tom and I do as well.”
Buffy’s face betrayed no emotion. Inside, she was screaming. Once again, the Powers-That-Shove-It-Up-Your-Ass were living up to their name. Her baby brother, the one she’d returned from Heaven to protect, was the reincarnation of a psychotic Wizard.
She steeled herself. She had a few questions. “Has he… Has he shown any Dark tendencies?” Her voice cracked a little at the end.
He shook his head. “No. In fact, quite the opposite. That’s what’s been throwing me. Dark Wizards tend to congregate in Slytherin House. But Tom is in Gryffindor, a house with a long standing grudge against Slytherin. In fact, he chose to be there. The Sorting Ha- Er… system, failed to place him. When asked, he chose Gryffindor.” He frowned. “Almost exactly as I did.”
Buffy looked incredibly relieved. “He’s okay then, right? I mean, he won’t go evil?”
Potter shrugged. “Who can say? For now, I have to admit… He looks fine. How he managed that while living on a Hellmouth, and living with a dark creature is beyond me…”
Buffy raised an eyebrow. “‘Dark Creature’?”
He blushed slightly. “The Slayer is considered a dark creature. Most Witches and Wizards consider you to be a myth, like the muggle boogeyman. I don’t know anyone other than my wife who believes in them, although she has a scary tendency to be right about these things. I know my daughter has ‘informed’ Tom that you don’t exist on several occasions. He seems amused by it.”
Buffy smiled, chuckling lightly. “He would be. He’s always been a smart-ass, emphasis on the ‘smart.’ He saved me a lot of trouble a few years ago, with this government project that was capturing demons. They had this demon-human-cyborg thing, and Tom found a binding spell in one of our many ancient books.”
Professor Potter looked impressed. “You let him research? I had to sneak a look at that kind of stuff at his age.”
She shrugged. “We don’t really ‘let’ him do things. He just does it. Whatever he thinks is necessary. I know he’s learning a lot of old languages from those books. I think he uses the English translations.” She had a faraway look. “Or… He used to. After I died, he just stopped.”
“How do you know?” He asked.
“I was in Heaven, remember?” She smiled. “All that stuff about your loved ones looking down on you is true. After I died, Tom lost a lot of his drive. I hope he gets it back.”
Potter smiled back at her. “Don’t worry. I saw how happy he is. He’ll be fine.”
She nodded. “Thanks.” She sat up. “Alright, enough of that. We’ve got something important to talk about.”
He looked surprised at this. “Oh? What?”
“Well, I’m back now. I came back in order to protect Tom. Obviously, I can’t do that from the Hellmouth, and I can’t leave it unguarded. So, now that my friends don’t have to do my job here, I’m going to send a couple of them with Tom.”
“Oh.” He looked a bit worried. “I don’t know if that’s allowed.”
Buffy looked extremely amused by his reaction. “I don’t really care. Don’t worry, I’m not going to send Spike. He might be a good protector, but I don’t need him around young impressionable students. Willow and Tara can go. They know plenty about magic, and I know Tom loves them.”
“None of the students—”
“I don’t care.” She repeated. “None of your other students are related to a Slayer. Make whatever excuses you have to, impress whoever you need to, this is going
to happen. Clear?”
He sighed in defeat. “I understand, Miss Summers.”
“Good!” She hopped up, heading for the kitchen. “Oh, by the way, I met someone on the other side you might be interested in. Sirius Black?” She smiled as his head shot up to look at her. “He said to tell you, ‘Well done, Pup. You made the Marauders proud.’” With that, she left.
Professor Potter sat crying in his chair, a smile on his face. His godfather was in Heaven.
They returned to Hogwarts about an hour later. Classes were over for the day, so while Professors Potter and McGonagall took Tara and Willow to guest quarters, Tom went to dinner.
As he sat down, Luna assaulted him with questions. “Tom! Where’d you go? Are you alright? What happened? Why did my dad go too? Are you in trouble? Are you going to get expelled?”
Tom rolled his eyes, smiling. “Home, I’m fine, my sister is alive, I don’t know, no, and no.”
“Your sister’s alive?!” She almost shrieked. “That’s impossible! No spell can bring back the dead!”
“Wiccan magic.” Jason spoke as he sat across from his friends. “Different from ours. More powerful, but not as controllable.”
Tom nodded. “Yep.” He smiled at his male friend. “Not bad. I didn’t think Wizards knew about that.”
“We don’t.” Jason shrugged. “Mum told me about it.”
“Cool.” Tom started piling food onto his plate.
“Why’d they do it?” Luna asked. “And how’d they get so powerful?”
“Because they’re Buffy’s friends. And they got powerful by defending the Hellmouth. Helping the Slayer teaches you a few things.”
Luna tsked at him. “Slayers don’t exist. How many times do I have to tell you before you believe me?”
He smirked at her. “Considering my sister is the Slayer, I’m going with… never gonna happen.”
Willow dropped her suitcase on the king-size bed. “Jeez, this is a huge room! It’s twice as big as our room in Sunnydale.”
Professor McGonagall smiled, slightly. “It’s to your liking, then?”
Tara nodded. “It’s great, thanks.”
McGonagall nodded. “Good. We’re having dinner now, if you care for it. It’ll be going for another hour. Good day, ladies.” Bowing slightly, she left.
Tara sat on the bed. “Goddess, this is comfortable. How did they manage that? It’s… unnatural.”
Willow shrugged. “Magic? The traditional rules don’t seem to apply to them, so they can probably do whatever they want.”
“‘An it harm none, do what ye will.’” Tara quoted. “Definitely doesn’t seem to apply.” She took a breath. “Do you think we can handle this? This much magic in the air, it’s like a drug…”
Willow nodded. “I know we can. Don’t worry about it.”
Tara smiled, and nodded, but when Willow turned away, her expression became that of worry. This might not be as easy as Willow thought…