It's a Mystery to Me
It’s a Mystery to Me
A/N My muse assaulted me with this one out of the blue. I’ve never seen this pairing so I thought I’d give it a whirl. This is a Harry Potter/BTVS crossover. The only change from canon in the HP verse is that Bill and Fleur never got hitched; pick a reason, it just never happened. In Buffy, well it is canon up to the end of the show, not so much with the comics. This is set about two years after the Deathly Hallows and about four years after Sunnydale’s collapse. As always, reviews are always welcome, even negative ones; because that’s how I learn to do this better. But please, no pointless rants, they just hurt my two functioning brain cells. I have no proprietary claim to either the Harry Potter works or Buffy the Vampire Slayer; they are the properties of people that make a lot more money than me.
Fleur Delacour walked into the Ministry with a severe look on her face. Even though she worked as an Auror, she didn’t like coming to the central ministry, preferring to work out of the regional offices; but her boss had asked her to come down and that wasn’t something she could refuse. Those who had known her from the Triwizard Tournament, and the fight against Voldemort would have barely recognized the young woman, her white-blond hair was pulled back into a simple pony tail, what little make up she was wearing was almost neutral in shade and she wore a simply cut robe of Wedgwood blue. It was obvious that she was attempting to blend in by minimizing her appearance, but it was equally obvious that it wasn’t working. She could feel the eyes on her, hear the whispered comments and see looks that varied from anger to mild disgust.
In the two years since Voldemort’s defeat, wizarding society had reverted to what it had been in the past. Before Voldemort, part humans and humanistic creatures like centaurs had been relegated to the back of the social bus and while there were no overt incidents, well there had been plenty of covert ones. During Voldemort’s reign of terror, folks hadn’t been so quick to dismiss help, even if it was from beings that your upbringing told you were second class citizens. Now that snake face was gone, the old attitudes had re-asserted themselves. Fleur knew that there were many, Harry, Dumbledore, Hermione; that fought against this, but Dumbledore was dead and changing the minds of such a hide bound lot was neither easy nor quick. So even though she had accomplished so much in defeating Voldemort and was voluntarily working against him still, Fleur’s part human status was what took precedence in many people’s minds. She knew what was being said behind her back, that she was using her Veela powers to influence just about everyone around her, and they were why she was advancing so quickly in the Auror’s corps. Fleur knew that she was in a no win situation, if she ignored the rumors, then they were true, but if she fought back against them, well she was just that unstable part human French girl that couldn’t control herself over some harmless gossip; so she did nothing and simply hoped that people would get tired of whispering the same old stories.
Harry had asked her why she put up with it. He had pointed out that in the non-wizarding world; she could work as a model and be rich beyond the dreams of avarice. Why did she subject herself to so much derision for a group of people that didn’t appreciate just what she did? She hadn’t answered him, mostly because at that time she really didn’t have an answer. What she had done is taken a few days off and thought about it. What she’d come up with were two reasons for staying. One was that as an Auror, she could see that the people that had perpetrated atrocities during Voldemort’s reign paid for their crimes. As bad as current society was, these supremacist idiots were worse. But second, and much more importantly; by being so public a figure despite her ‘not entirely human’ status, she might open some closed minds and thus make things a bit easier for her sister Gabrielle and any children that either of them might have. To achieve this, Fleur was willing to put up with the snide comments and shabby treatment.
Fleur walked up three flights of stairs and down two hallways until she got to the room that she was looking for. In a society that seemed to encourage flamboyance, it was a surprisingly plain door. It was a dark oak door with ‘Kingsley Shacklebolt, Head Auror’ on it in discrete gold letters. He was her boss. Fleur knocked and only had to wait a second before she heard, “come in,” in Kingsley’s deep voice. Quickly she slipped in and sat down across from the head Auror. She was perched on the front of her chair, poised like a greyhound waiting for the race to start. Kingsley was one of the few people, outside of her family, that she was truly comfortable with. He understood what she was going through, and what motivated her far better than most since he’d had to endure much the same thing because of his skin color.
“You sent for me?”
“Yes, I’ve got a bit of a dodgy job that needs doing, and you’re the best I’ve got.”
“What do you need me to do?”
“Reconnaissance, get in, look around and get out.”
“A castle up in Scotland.”
“Now that’s a bit of a story,” Kingsley replied, sitting back in his chair. “A couple of months ago, we noticed that there was a lot of traffic to and from a castle that we thought was abandoned. We took note but ignored it; for all we knew it was some American getting back in touch with his ancestral past. But then wards started springing up around it, wards that we didn’t recognize. What made it worse was the location,” he pulled a map onto his desk and motioned Fleur forward.
“It is very close to Hogwarts,” she noted at once.
“Indeed, just across the Forbidden Forrest. Once we realized where it was it occurred to us that some of V…V…Voldmort’s followers might be using it for a base to attack where we wouldn’t suspect it.” He looked up to see that the young French woman had a small smile on her face; she always seemed amused by the fact that he stumbled over Voldemort’s name. “We tried to find out what we could about the group using the castle now, but essentially we found nothing, which just made us that much more suspicious. So we sent Fergus to investigate.” Kingsley saw a mild look of disdain cross Fleur’s face; Fergus was not exactly the Ministry’s finest. “He wandered about for two days and swore he couldn’t even find the bloody place, so we sent Dawlish instead.” Again, Fleur’s face gave away her feelings, John Dawlish was an ass, but he was also very good at what he did and Kingsley knew that the young ladies opinion of Dawlish was even lower than his. “He said he’d found the place and was going to have a look-see that night, it was the last we heard from him for two days. We were just getting a party together to go find him when he showed up on the sidewalk in front of the Ministry’s main entrance, he was naked, unconscious, bound up in something called ‘Duck Tape’ and had his wand shoved somewhere that a wand shouldn’t go. Also he had a three word message tattooed on his forehead; it simply said “Leave us Alone”. It took three days, two memory spells and working with a pensieve to figure out what happened to him.”
“And that was,” Fleur tried to keep the glee she felt at what had happened to that jackass out of her voice.
“First of all, it appears that he was able to negotiate several of the wards before tripping one that he didn’t realize was there. When this happened he was confronted by a young girl. He went for his wand and was physically subdued. After that there are only periods of consciousness followed by being beaten into unconsciousness again after he is a little less than polite.”
Fleur didn’t need to see Kingsley’s face to know that the man was smirking at the treatment Dawlish had received, and at the rather unprofessional attitude he had taken to being made captive. She could imagine what he’d said before being pummeled.
“What is odd is that they didn’t seem to be asking him anything substantial when he was lucid enough for questioning.”
“So, they weren’t aware of who or what he is; or they are aware and just didn’t care.” Fleur thought for a second, her blond brows knitting, “The second option is rather scary, isn’t it?”
“So you want me to go back there and see if I can do better?”
“And what makes you think I could, the man is a creep, but Dawlish is a very good Auror.”
“True, but I’m hoping that the fact that you’re neither human nor non-human will confuse their wards. Additionally I’ve borrowed Harry’s invisibility cloak, so you should be set for getting in and out.”
“And if I’m captured?”
“Well, there’s always your secret weapon,” he said; referring to her Veela status, it would allow her to escape from most situations.
“There is that,” she said with a sigh. To her it was much more of a curse than a blessing. Yes, she was very attractive and yes, she could manipulate people when she wanted; but too often it was used against her. Did Fleur get a promotion, well everyone knew what that was all about, did she get recognized for her work, it must have been because she was a you know what as opposed to the fact that she did damn good work. Even in her personal life; when a man agreed with her, was it because he thought she was right or because she’d inadvertently unleashed her power? It was an unspoken wish of hers to find someone that was unaffected by the nature of what she was, but she knew that it wasn’t gonna happen. “So when am I off and where am I going?”
Kingsley smiled, he knew she’d go for it, he hated sending her off on something so dangerous, but they needed to know what was happening at that castle. “Well,” he said, pulling out a map; “it would be best if you started out . . . .”
Fleur had found the castle easily enough, but she was becoming more and more disheartened as she observed the security measures that were in place. The wards she could see, but there were also physical barriers that would be difficult to get around, even if she was invisible. She’d been trying to find a way in for an hour or more when she sat back against a tree and looked up. In the sky was a circling hawk that suddenly dove down at a duck that was moving from one lake to another. The duck took to the air and the chase was on. Fleur watched, fascinated at the aerial display when she realized something; the two birds were flying around the castle, inside the wards. A smile came to her face as she realized how she was going to get in.
She was moving slowly for a couple of reasons; one was that she didn’t want the invisibility cloak to ripple and possibly give her away, the other was that she didn’t know if there were wards operating up here and she didn’t want to slam headlong into one and be knocked off her broom. So far it had gone easily enough, but she wasn’t getting complacent. After a slow descent, she settled down near a secondary entrance, stashed her broom and waited for someone to use the door. She stood there silently, and soon enough her patience was rewarded. Three girls came out the door and headed off chatting away about dinner. Not that she heard a lot of the conversation, as soon as they were clear, Fleur ducked through the rapidly closing door and breathed a quiet sigh of relief, she was in the castle. It was immediately obvious that she’d come in the kitchen entrance, the ovens and other accoutrements made that clear. What was also clear was the probability that this was not a wizarding kitchen; there were too many modern conveniences and no house elves. Despite that, she still needed to be sure, so she moved on, out of the kitchen and into the living areas of the castle. As she carefully moved about, it was clear that most of the people here were young women; she was easily older than ninety percent of the people she saw. It was also clear that despite her invisibility, Fleur had to be very careful, the sheer number of girls there and the speed at which they moved made it difficult not to be discovered. That and many of them seemed to look at where she was, then look away; as though they’d caught something out of the corner of their eyes and were checking out what might be there. Quietly Fleur worked her way into a corner where she wouldn’t be bumped into accidentally and thought. This was probably not the lair of some rogue Death Eaters; however what was here was something outside of Fleur’s experience. She didn’t understand what she was seeing, but the fact that they were using a type of magic that she wasn’t familiar with made this a situation that required a more in depth look. So instead of trying to find a way out, Fleur went about trying to find someone over the age of eighteen. She carefully moved around the few areas that she was familiar with, keeping her eyes and ears open for any hint, but after a while she hadn’t found anyone who looked to be in charge and was getting heartily sick of the rather shallow conversations going on around her. Finally, though, she heard one girl call to another, “I’ll be there as soon as I drop off my patrol report.”
Now Fleur had no idea what a “Patrol Report” was, but she figured that you didn’t leave it with just anyone. Taking more chances than she normally would, Fleur followed the young woman until they came to a door. It was a door that, while not concealed, blended in so well with the architecture that it was very difficult to notice. Fleur was forced to move quickly, and darted into the open door very soon after the girl. Where they were was a hallway with several doors opening off of it. The girl darted to the second doorway on the left, knocked once and entered in the same motion. Fleur moved down to where she was past the doorway and waited for the girl to leave; what little she saw as she moved past the open doorway looked to be an office of some sort. Soon the girl zipped out of the office and headed back down the hallway while tossing a, “bye Xander,” over her shoulder. Taking advantage of the open door, Fleur eased into the office and looked around. It looked like a typical office; there were file cabinets, a bookcase, several chairs and a rather large and messy desk. All told it was innocuous looking. The man behind the desk; however, made up for the boring normality of the room. He was large, and well muscled, at least the parts she could see. He had dark hair that looked like it had been recently cut and deeply tanned skin. There were laugh lines around his mouth, and crinkles around his eyes, rather make that eye; because he was one short. He was wearing an eye patch that covered his left eye. He was also wearing a dark T-shirt that said “Twinkie the Kid” on it. Fleur had no idea who or what “Twinkie the Kid” was; and over that he work a loose open shirt that was a garish combination of some rather blinding colors. He looked like no one she’d ever seen and she found herself just standing there watching the man work. After a few minutes, he looked up and gave the open door a glance; sighed, and got up and moved around the desk. As he moved, Fleur learned something else about the man, he was dangerous. The grace with which he moved, almost flowed, across the room spoke of a proficiency in the martial arts and the muscles told her that he was strong enough to do a great amount of damage with that knowledge. Unfortunately, Fleur was so taken up in her observations that she didn’t realize that he was closing the door until it was already done. Now she started to panic just a little, her quick escape just went away and she was stuck in a room with someone who she considered dangerous. On the plus side, she was invisible so stunning the man while he was unaware was a real plan. She felt a little bad about attacking someone without reason, but Fleur ranked her own safety much higher than a little bit of dirty pool. Fleur became aware, again, of her own surroundings once she’d firmed up her plan of action in her mind. Unfortunately she discovered that the man had not gone back to his desk as she’d supposed he would, but was instead, standing in the middle of the room and looking right at where she was. She thought it was a coincidence right up until the moment he spoke.
“You’d be more comfortable sitting down,” he said moving again behind the desk. Fleur was shocked, there was no way he could have detected her, this was one of the Deathly Hallows, the absolute finest invisibility cloak in existence. She stood there frozen, half convinced that he had been bluffing when he shrugged his shoulders and went back to the paperwork on the desk, but was speaking at the same time. “Coming in from the sky was a smart play, the wards are thin up there and one person is too small to show up on radar. We detected you, but just barely. I’ll give you points for stealth, and playing it smart and not relying on just your invisibility.”
“So what gave me away,” Fleur asked, walking forward and sitting down while she pulled the cloak over her head so her face and hair were visible.
“In the future, you might want to think about a silence spell. You swish a bit when you move as well as your breathing and other little noises. They all combine to give you away. The big thing though, is your smell.”
Fleur was shocked to hear this. “Excuse me,” she said.
“Your smell,” he stated again, “if you’re gonna do this right you need something to mask your natural odor.” He smirked at her, “not to mention laying off the peach scented shampoo and the lavender soap; dead giveaways.”
Fleur sat in the chair, fuming for a moment or two. She was embarrassed at being caught. Here she had thought she was being so quiet and clever and they’d known she was there the whole time. Suddenly the evening’s events added up for her, “I was lead here wasn’t I?”
The man nodded.
“Because we need to talk,” the man replied, “but first there’s a few things I’ve got to take care of.”
With that his voice and his eye changed, and Fleur saw two things in the man’s eye, regret at what was about to happen, and the resolution to do what he was about to do anyway. Realizing that something was about to happen to her, Fleur aimed her wand at the man, the words to the stunning spell racing through her mind; but she was too late. The object in his hand, that she thought was some kind of stapler; fired a couple of darts into her body. Then there was nothing in her mind but fear. She heard a crackle, like lightning, and just that quickly her body was no longer in her control. She couldn’t move the way she wanted, she couldn’t even think clearly; everything seemed to be scrambled. She sagged out of the chair, falling bonelessly to the floor. She could feel her consciousness fading, and the last thing Fleur was aware of was the man leaning over her body and whispering, “I’m very sorry.”