April 30, 2005 10:00 Am
Moody was still having difficulties navigating the manor house that the Council had set up its headquarters in. He'd resorted to a location spell, and was following the "guide" to where his quarry was currently located. He turned down a corridor, and watched as the speck of green light bob -- and he knew that this was impossible, but it still looked to be the case -- cheerfully, as if it were a dog expecting a treat.
He rolled his eyes and tamped his stick on the ground.
When the light disappeared, he knocked on the door.
"Come in," Willow called, not looking up from her laptop as she typed.
Magic assaulted her, causing her to look up, however. Power. Lots of it. Beads of sweat formed on her forehead. The darker side of her was nudged her for an attack. Willow repeated the mantra Irulan had been teaching her and quieted that voice.
The power made sense, though. She was staring at Mad-Eye Moody. He didn't look like much, but in her opinion, neither did she, and she had almost ended the world. Xander would make Yoda references right about now.
"Can I help you, Mr. Moody?" she asked caustiously.
She knew Giles had hired him, and looking at that little website she and Buffy had looked at, Willow had a pretty good idea as to why.
Moody's brow furrowed. He had assumed that someone that had lived on a hellmouth and fought vampires for a living would know better than to verbally invite someone into an enclosed space... Granted, once you were in the building, you were past the limitation, but it still make sense to practice on all of one's door-opening occasions. "I wanted to speak to you on a few subjects," he responded. "Is now a good time?"
"Sure. As long as you're not here to arrest me. I've had all the arresting I can stand for now. Not that they weren't nice to me. They were, but there was some blame I didn't deserve being bandied about. But you're retired from being an Auror and stuff. Unless the Wikipedia page on you is wrong. I'd offer you tea or something, but I don't think you'd drink it."
She was nervous and babbling. Like a swollen brook after a good rain.
"You can, um, sit and stuff if you want. Or pace. Or whatever. You know."
Moody waited until she was done, and then he processed what she'd said. His brow furrowed. "What's a Wikipedia Page?"
Willow clicked on the bookmark she had and then typed in her search. It brought up his page. Willow turned the laptop around so he could see.
"Look. It's you. Well, there aren't really actual pictures of you, but it's a good sketch, don't you think? It got me to recognize you, and you have a scary work history. I wouldn't want to fight you."
Moody was silent for a few moments. "Who in the blue fuck did that? There's a bloody statute of secrecy!"
Willow pulled up the history page and before she could say anything, Moody squinted in and read what was printed there.
"Creevy. And Granger." He leaned back. "Do any more of us have these 'Wee Kee Pedia' pages that any muggle can just open up on the blasted computer box?"
"If it makes you feel any better, you're fictional. A 'Regular Joe' person would think you weren't real. There's one on me too, but it's all wrong."
Willow pulled up her page and showed him. Her drawing was scary in her opinion. She was all void-y eyes, black hair and veins. It also never said her real name. She was 'The Dark One'.
"There's, of course, one about Harry Potter. Voldemort, um, someone named Severus Snape, um, Albus Dumbledore, the Weasley family, Hermione Granger, and there's even one about Draco's family, but I haven't told him that yet. His sketch makes his nose look really pointy. I think he'd be upset. I'm sure you know how vain he is."
"What do you mean, we're fictional?"
"Like someone wrote a book about you, but sold it as being made-up. Like not a fact book or a text. Like it was a story from imagination. It's the same thing with vampires and slayers. They're creatures of make believe to, um, Muggle people."
Moody's remaining natural eye began to twitch.
"I can see that I'll need to track down whichever soon-to-be very sorry sod wrote that book." He seated himself across the desk from her. "In the meantime, I'd like to cover some other topics with you today."
"Of course. I would just ask that in the meantime, until we have time to talk about the book thing more, that you don't kill or maim or mentally alter anyone over it, 'kay?"
"So, um, what did you want to talk about?"
"Tell me about your training program for the girls. What subjects are covered, and for which age groups?"
"Oh. Okay. We make sure the basics are covered. Reading, writing, arithmetic. We cover history. So far wizarding, muggle people and slayer. Mac MacDougal has been able to suggest some excellent texts for the wizarding stuff. We're trying to get a wizard person to help, but people have been... unreceptive. There's a lot of emphasis on physical and weapons training. The girls have to be in shape physically to slay. It's not enough to have a calling. They need to know how to use it. We try to get everyone the knowledge they need. And everyone who lives in the house has chores. Some of the girls help in the greenhouses, help the house elves with the laundry, maintain the weapons. One of our girls even has an outside job in Diagon Alley."
Willow paused for a second before pressing on.
"We really don't have a set age group. The youngest we've gotten has been thirteen, the oldest twenty-five. Of course we don't put the younger girls with the blood and guts books right away. And the youngest we have patrolling right now is fourteen, but she'll be fifteen tomorrow as a matter of fact, and she's a special case - quick learner with a good watcher. The team can make all the difference."
"I've met Miss Karlsen," Moody responded. "Interesting girl. I'm having horrible visions of her and Verity hitting it off."
Willow leaned forward and studied him. She did not dare try to glean anything from him.
"My great granddaughter." He returned to the answer to his question. "I can probably help you with the Wizarding history; The main reason most people won't help you with history is that they don't know any. I went through Hogwarts before Binns started teaching, and I was present for most of the important events of the last hundred years or so."
He leaned back in his chair. "Also, Rupert wanted me to do a survey of the girls' hand-to-hand skills and perhaps step in and fill in any cracks I find."
"All right," Willow replied, her mind still on the great granddaughter part. "Verity is a slayer. She's the one I feel from the school."
"You probably are sensing her there now," he commented, with an eyebrow raised.
"Yes," Willow said, mind going somewhere else for a moment. "The Ministry would not let us try to contact her, but she found a way to us. They all find a way."
"Yes, they were probably afraid of me blasting your heads off with a reductor curse," he responded. "They tend to dislike cleaning up after someone's snuck up on me."
"You would have killed my owl? Because I would have sent an owl. I tend to not just show up places unannounced unless it's in Knockturn Alley."
"Most likely not, but you never know. But that is very good to know."
"If you're going to work here, try not to kill any of the girls. Sometimes they can accidentally sneak up on people. Slayer stealth and all."
"Rupert sent out the eeeepost yesterday to the girls warning them, and I will indeed keep the spells to basic defensive fare. I have never killed anyone I didn't have to, not even by accident."
"Good to know."
Willow was surprised her past had not come up. Because being who he was, he had to know, but maybe he didn't. She was certainly not going to mention it if she didn't have to.
"Please let me know when I can do a survey of the girls' skill-sets and when you'd like to to teach history. Also, I apparently need a kom-pew-ter and a mo-bile telephone. Rupert mentioned that I should talk to you about it."
"Well, this is one form of computer," Willow said, gesturing to her laptop. "I suppose I should start with some basic stuff if you can meet with me. I knew Giles for eight years before I convinced him to get a cell phone, and I still can't get used to using the word mobile. A mobile and a cell are the same. Giles is muggle people technology resistant. Like I think you will be."
She smiled brightly.
"Yes, but I'm also fifty years older than Rupert is." He grinned, and Willow wasn't sure that she liked it much. "Expect a Challenge."
"If I can get Percy West to pass history, I think I can get you to having some basic techno skills, and I am not afraid of a challenge."
Willow had been expecting Alastor Moody to dislike her and be scary and mean. He was being very pleasant. She was thinking she would end up adoring him like she did Giles. She'd never known either of her grandpas, so maybe she could adopt Moody in that area. The Scoobies had learned long ago that a built family could often be better than a blood one.
"Excellent. Please let me know when you have time to work on that. Do I speak to you about scheduling appointments with the girls, then, or shall I speak with Miss Summers?"
"You speak to Buffy," Willow said, smiling. "And probably take it up with a few of the watchers. Like, for example, Oz probably has a better idea of where Mac and Kasie are on a daily basis. Draco probably could tell you where to find Pevensie."
"Excellent. Hopefully, those assignments are in this stack of documentation that Rupert gave me. Please let me know when I can come for my training, and when you'd like me to present a section of Wizarding history. Also, how far back would you like to go?"
How far back? She had no idea. "I'll get with you about the lessons on the computer. As to how far back, um, use your best judgement?"
Moody sat and thought about that statement. "Perhaps I should leave out the Goblin Rebellion of 1612. Possibly something along the lines of a current events briefing with background."
Willow nodded. "If any of them want to know more, they can always ask."
"Excellent." He paused, considering how to word the next item on his mental agenda. "Two of the possible eventualities of Verity's situation are that she will either not be allowed to return to Hogwarts in the fall, or she will not choose to return. This will not necessarily be a problem, however, I know her parents would have wanted her to complete her magical schooling, and I am afraid that I made it very clear that she would receive it. Of the wizarding employees that you have, who is qualified to teach which magical subjects?"
"Oh. Um... well, the only magical world folks besides you we have are Mac, Draco Malfoy and Hannah Abbott."
"Lovely. Miss Penshaw is not wizarding stock?"
"Oh. I always forget about Daisy. I can't imagine why. Probably because she rarely uses her wand. She's more hands-on. If you'd like to pull in others, I am seeing members of the Stone Circle Coven again. I do believe Irulan Purecraft's daughter Brindelle has her teaching certification. I'm sure we could contract her for Verity's education."
He nodded. "I will, of course, be tutoring her in Defense Against the Dark Arts, but I rather think that the rest of my repertoire is probably vastly out of date, except for perhaps potions, which I manage to keep up with all off the various antidotes."
"Well, if her cooking is anything to go by, Hannah might be able to handle the potions," Willow offered.
He nodded again. "I will ask her. Is there anything you require of me while I'm here?"
"Nothing comes to mind, but I'm sure I can find you if I think of something."
"Excellent. Good day, Mistress Rosenberg." He stood.
"Good day to you too, Mr. Moody," Willow replied with a smile.
She liked him. A lot. he was just the right blend of serious and not and dangerous and calm. It reminded her of Giles but in a different way, and she had always liked the duality of Giles.