A/N Sorry, something I should have added to the first A/N is the fact that the chapter titles are all lyrics from the Dire Straits song “Private Investigations”; which just happened to also provide me with a title for my fic. I don’t own or have any rights to the song or Dire Straits (but boy, do I ever wish I did). Also a few of you might be wondering about Fleur’s accent. I tried to write her speech patterns that way, but everything came out sounding like the French from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. So lets just pretend that the intelligent young woman taught herself to speak better English; OK?
Fleur woke up slowly; she really wasn’t sure what had happened to her so she wasn’t doing anything quickly. Actually, she was doing fine until she tried to raise her arm, then suddenly everything seemed to hurt. She gasped in pain, but before she could get more than that out, there was someone helping her. Strong arms around her, easing her body into a sitting position. She turned her head to thank whoever it was, but was taken aback when she saw that it was the one eyed man, the one that had hurt her in the first place. She tried to jerk away, but agony shot through all her muscles.
“Hey, hey, relax,” he said, “you move too quickly and you’re gonna wish you were out of it again.”
Fleur glared daggers at the man, and he had the gall to actually look embarrassed. “Sorry about zapping you like that, but I really do need to talk to you, and that wasn’t going to happen with you waving your wand around while thinking you were in mortal peril, now was it?”
Fleur sighed and reigned in her temper; reluctantly she had to admit that those circumstances were not the best for starting conversations. Apparently he could see the reluctant agreement in her eyes. “So what was that thing,” she finally asked.
“That was a Tazer, or stun gun; it’s used to subdue someone without doing permanent damage. And yes, I know it hurts a lot, I’ve been hit with the thing a time or two myself.”
“Long stories; and not really relevant right now.”
“Fine then, where am I?”
Fleur glared at the man, her eyes flashing blue fire. “I know that much and I know I’m in a castle, but where in the castle am I?”
He gave her a cheeky grin, “you’re in my room for now. I mean if you want we could throw you in the dungeon, but I figured that my couch would be a lot more comfortable than down there.”
Fleur panicked for a second when he said that they were in his room, but she was fully clothed and her limbs were not restrained in any way, so she concluded that he wasn’t thinking about any sort of unwanted violation. Actually, Fleur was rather conflicted at the moment. He had knocked her out, but he had done so reluctantly, she remembered that much. He had made sure that she was comfortable and was currently supporting her with his rather strong arms. Part of her wanted to just snuggle back into his comfortable bulk, and the other wanted to hex him into the middle of next week for what he’d done to her. Trying not to let her confused nature show, Fleur simply said, “thank you, no; this is fine.”
“Cool,” he said, then stood up slowly, taking her hand with him. “You probably need to stand up now and get everything back to working order. But remember, do it slowly, fast movements hurt.”
Fleur followed his advice and slowly got to her feet. He was right; moving slowly didn’t hurt nearly as much as rapid or jerky movements. She gave him a smile for his consideration and slowly walked around the room. As she did so, her body returned to normal function. As she finished her self assessment, she asked the man, “Who are you?”
A look of chagrin came over his face, “sorry, I forgot my manners, my name is Alexander Harris, and I’m the Chief Field Watcher for the Reformed Slayer and Watchers Council.”
Fleur was confused, Alexander acted as though she should know what this Council was, but she’d never heard of it before. “I’ve never heard of this council.”
“Really, you’ve never heard of Watcher’s, Demons or Slayers?”
Fleur thought, her blond eyebrows knitted, “I have heard of Demons, but only in a few instances. I have never seen one personally, and as for Slayers; that is familiar but I cannot remember where I heard it.”
“Then sit down Miss Delacour and allow me to explain everything.”
Fleur was halfway down into the chair when it hit her, he’d used her name, and she didn’t recall giving it, nor was it on her anywhere. “How do you know who I am,” she asked.
“I’ll explain that later, right now it’s enough that I know who you are.”
“And what is it you know about me?”
“Well, I know that you’re French, you graduated from Beauxbaton Academy, you were quite instrumental in the defeat of Tom Riddle, you are currently an Auror under Kingsley Shacklebolt, you are one quarter Veela; which, by the way, we refer to as an Amoura demon, and you’ve got a younger sister that you love very much.”
“What . . . . How . . . .,” she spluttered. Fleur was horrified that these strangers knew so much about her.
“As I said, I’ll explain that later, right now I need to tell you a story. The Earth is older than you know, and contrary to popular myth . . . .. . . . .”
Fleur wasn’t sure what to believe. She sat there as this man spun his story of good and evil, of heroes and villains, of phenomenal victories and crushing defeats, of monsters that roamed the night and the girls that fought them. She wasn’t sure if she believed any of what he was saying, but she was sure that he believed it. He finished his story and was sitting there, looking at her as she tried to process everything she’d just heard. “Not ready to believe me yet, are you?”
“No, I am not,” she replied.
“Good, if you’d said yes then I’d know you were lying. But as for proof, just wait a moment.” With that he got up, moved to the door and whispered something. He stepped back and a young girl followed him into the room. Fleur vaguely remembered seeing her as she was sneaking into the castle. She had been one of the girls that had left through the kitchen and allowed Fleur to enter. She gave Fleur a glance that was equal parts warning and envy. The envy part was for obvious reasons, but Fleur couldn’t understand what the girl was warning her about until she noticed how the young woman looked at Alexander. It was then clear to Fleur that if she did anything to hurt the one-eyed man; that this girl, and probably most of the others in the castle Fleur guessed, would make sure that the punishment was severe.
“This is Nicole,” he said indicating the young girl, “Nicole, this is Fleur. You’re both from the same part of France,” he told the younger woman.
“Neat,” the young girl said, feigning boredom. “So what do you need Xander?”
“Crow bar,” he replied.
She nodded and left the room for just a few seconds, then returned with a long piece of iron. Fleur watched as Alexander took the bar from Nicole and tested it by trying to bend it. It was obviously solid. He passed it to Fleur. “Try to bend it please,” he asked.
She raised a skeptical eyebrow but did as he asked. It was indeed solid. He took the metal from her and handed it back to Nicole, who promptly bent it into the shape of a pretzel. Fleur goggled at what she’d just seen. Nicole was not overly muscular and there had been no magic, she had just bent the thing like it wasn’t even a challenge. “How is that possible,” Fleur asked.
“Thank you Nicole,” Alexander said and he ushered the girl out the door. Then he turned to Fleur, “she’s a Slayer.”
“You spoke of Slayers in your story, what are they exactly. I know I’ve heard the term before, but I just can’t seem to place it.”
“A slayer is a girl who is mystically empowered to fight demons. Since the main demonic presence on Earth are vampires, the term is usually Vampire Slayer. For centuries there was only one, and when she died another was called. A few years ago, though; we were forced to change the rules and now there are hundreds all over the earth; fighting and dying to keep this world spinning. As to where you’ve heard the term before,” he began as he headed over to the bookcase and took down a copy of Skamander’s Gazetteer of Magical Creatures, it was a book that was regularly used to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts. Opening it he said, “You probably remember the term from this.” He then started reading from the tome, “Slayer, a psychotic killing machine in the form of a young woman. They are known by their resistance to injury and superhuman strength and speed. Research has uncovered no useful function for these creatures, so the recommendation is to kill upon detection for general safety.” He glared at her, his one eye blazing, “with so many slayers in the world now, your world and mine are bound to collide. If that happens and a girl ends up dead, well lets just say it would be the last mistake the person that killed her will ever make. Now we’ve talked to the appropriate governing bodies of most countries, but only Britain and a few countries in Europe refuse to alter the status of Slayers, maintaining that they are indeed creatures and not people. So the main reason you’re here is to convince your superiors that recognizing that slayers are human beings is in their best interest.”
Fleur was stunned, the ministry actually considered these girls as creatures, on par with flobberworms and nifflers. “I did not know that they believed this,” she explained. “I will of course verify this but if it is so, then of course I will speak to my superiors.”
“Thank you,” he said. “Both our groups seem to be working towards the same end; it would be a shame for us to end up at each other’s throat over something so preventable.”
“That is true,” she replied, “I am curious, though as to what the other thing is.”
“What other thing?”
“You said having me convince my superiors was the main reason I was here, so what is the other reason?”
He actually looked a bit uncomfortable at that. Finally he replied, “Well, I was gonna offer you a job.”
“I wanted to offer you a job, working with the Council.”
“But why, you have witches already, the wards alone make that clear.”
“True, and the magic users we have are great, but they specialize in ritual types of magic and that isn’t something that really works in a combat situation. You, however, can cast a wide variety of spells quickly with little or no preparation. That kind of magic use would be invaluable in the field. I would like for you to go on a patrol to see what the girls do, and so that we could see what you can do as well.”
“I will think on it,” she said. “But first, how do you know so much about me, about us?”
“What happens to someone from a magical family that has no magic, or at least not enough to make a wand work?”
“I do not know,” she replied, her blond brows knitting in confusion at having her question answered by another question.
“Are they still accepted as part of the Wizarding World?”
“Because, as you said, they cannot work with a wand.”
“But they can still do magic, just not your preferred brand.”
“I did not know that there was any other type.”
“So they’re exiled from the world that they’ve grown up in?”
“And how happy do you think they are, being thrown out of the only world they know because of an accident of genetics?”
Fleur thought again, she really hadn’t considered what happened to Squibs once it had been determined that they couldn’t use wands. She knew that one or two still functioned in the Wizarding World, the odious Mr. Filch leapt to mind, but she honestly had no idea what most of them did. As she thought some more, the truth hit her. This Council must be using Squibs, and they were telling all they knew about Wizarding society from the important down to the mundane gossip. What was worse was that they could renew their information by simply talking to their families and asking about their days. Fleur’s eyes widened at the realization that the Statute of Secrecy had been breached and no one, outside of herself, knew about it. Fleur decided that this information couldn’t wait, so it was time to escape. Reluctantly she focused on her Veela self and began to project at the one-eyed man.
“You really want to let me leave now, don’t you,” she asked flirtatiously. Alexander just sat there, looking at her as though she’d gone insane, so Fleur increased her effort. Then suddenly she was hit with overwhelming feelings of adoration. She would do anything for him, his slightest whim was more important to her than her own life. Without thinking she threw herself on top of him and began raining kisses down on him. He overbalanced and hit the floor with Fleur on top, not that she minded in the least. That way she was even closer to him. Suddenly she heard footsteps and then hands were grabbing her, pulling her away from him. She fought and cursed her unseen assailants, but they had over matched her and there was nothing she could do. Despite this realization, she kept fighting, trying to get back to him.
“What is it with you and demon girls Xander?”
He looked up at Dawn, who was grinning down at him while Michelle and Abby were restraining Fleur. “I guess it’s just my winning personality there Dawn,” he replied. Then he looked over at the two slayers, “I think she tried to hit me with some kind of persuasion mojo; just take her out of here for three minutes or so and see if reality re-asserts itself.” Grinning as well, the two manhandled the yelling Fleur out the door.
“So do you think she’ll come to work for us,” Dawn asked.
“I hope so,” Xander said as he got up off the floor. “She’s smart and talented and she’s got guts. When you factor in that the idiots she works with treat her like a second class citizen, I’d say its better than even money that she decides to work for us.”
“Because in a combat situation she’d toast anyone else that we’ve got except for Willow, and I think she’d give the Willster a run for her money.”
“You really think so?”
“Yeah, you should see how quick these wand types are at slinging the mojo.”
“Well hopefully she’ll get over her infatuation with you and go out tonight on a patrol.”
Just then the door opened and a chagrined Fleur walked into the room. She took one look at Xander and blushed to the roots of her hair. Dawn gave a little giggle at the display and left the two of them alone again.
“I must apologize Mr. Harris,” she began.
“Please call me Xander or Alexander if you must; I really don’t like being called Mr. Harris.”
Fleur sensed that there was quite a story there, but she pressed on. “As you wish then Alexander, I must apologize for my actions; I don’t know what came over me.”
“My guess is that you tried something and it backfired. Mind magic just doesn’t work on me anymore; if you try the outcome is totally chaotic.
Fleur blushed even deeper; something Xander didn’t know was possible. “Again I must apologize.”
“No big deal,” Xander said. “You found something out and felt that you needed to get back and tell someone in charge. I understand. Unfortunately I can’t let you go do that just yet.”
“Then I am a prisoner here?”
“No, it just means that we still need to talk about the possibility of you taking a job with us. It’s not something that you just do; I need to lay everything out for you so you can make an informed decision. Then there’s the patrol that I hope you’ll go on. Then you’re free to leave.”
She suddenly smiled at him; this man that she’d barely met was treating her with more respect than ninety five percent of the Wizarding World. When you combined that with the probability that he was immune to her mental suggestions, and that he was quite good looking in a rough hewn kind of way; there was no way that Fleur was leaving here any sooner than she had to. “Very well,” she said as she sat down. “What would this job entail?”
Fleur stood by the side of the road, looking back at the castle. She had her broom, cloak and wand, but she had no idea what to do. She needed to talk to Kingsley and tell him that this wasn’t the hideout of some hold-out Death Eaters; but what would she tell him that it was. She could say it was a girl’s school; that was true enough. But then she’d have to explain about the wards and the revelation that there were different types of magic. She wasn’t sure how that would be taken. Not to mention the revealing the war that was going on, the nature of Slayers and the fact that there were a lot of them now. Could she convince the Wizengamot to leave them alone, or should she even do that. What would happen when it was let out that this group knew everything that was worth knowing about Wizarding society, and the fact that they had this knowledge was the society’s own fault. She could feel that change was coming, and that was never a comfortable feeling. As she prepared to apparate back to London, she idly wondered when she’d see Alexander again.