They landed moments later in the foyer of an old, mouldering house, which seemed to be Muggle and abandoned in nature. There was a definite musty, damp smell in the air, which made both Buffy and Dawn wrinkle their noses in mild disgust.
“Where are we?” Dawn asked.
“An arrival point for the people Apparating or using Portkeys,” Dumbledore replied. “It’s much more convenient than Apparating into the foyer of headquarters.”
“And where is this headquarters?” Dawn asked.
“Dawn!” Buffy exclaimed. “Be nice.”
“No harm done,” Dumbledore replied. “Come along, now. Molly is expecting you, and I daresay she’ll have a table full of food waiting for you.”
Dumbledore led them out of the front door and, after checking that the coast was clear, all three of them headed across the road. He stopped in front of the space between numbers eleven and thirteen. Number twelve was obviously missing.
“I want you to recall what was on that piece of paper you read before you arrived,” Dumbledore said. Buffy closed her eyes, the curly script appearing in her mind’s eye. The Headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix is located at Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place
“Holy crap, what was that?!”
Buffy smiled a little at her sister’s exclamation as she opened her eyes, just as numbers eleven and thirteen were shoved to the side as another house, number twelve, magically squeezed itself in between then, pushing them to the sides.
“Fidelius charm?” Buffy asked.
“And you said you weren’t good at Charms,” Dumbledore said with a smile.
“Nope, I sucked at Charms,” Buffy replied. “How’s old Professor Flitwick doing, anyway? He still sore about me sending him flying across the room?”
“You are neither the first, nor the last, to send him flying,” Dumbledore replied. “I daresay your nephew Neville managed it more times than you.”
“He’s not my nephew,” Buffy retorted. “Augusta’s family didn’t get as far as adopting me. Neither did Terrence’s.”
“Too true,” Dumbledore said. “Besides, while Buffy Smith wouldn’t be such a bad name, Buffy Longbottom just has an odd sound to it, doesn’t it?”
“It wouldn’t have been so bad,” Buffy replied. “Now isn’t there an Order of some kind to meet and greet?”
“Right again, my dear,” Dumbledore said. “Now, I beg you to try and be as quiet as possible when entering the house. We have one rather irate portrait that likes to scream obscenities when disturbed. The house is much more harmonious when she’s sleeping.”
“Portrait screaming obscenities?” Dawn asked. “What kind of screwed up world did you live in?”
“The subjects of paintings can move and speak,” Buffy replied. “It’s kind of cool, I guess, but it kinda sucks when you’re out after curfew and the portrait guarding your common room decides to go for a walk.”
“Something you have personal experience with, right, Buffy?” Dumbledore asked with a smile. Buffy just stuck her tongue out at him as he led them into the house.
The foyer was dark and dingy, lit by candles and smelling strongly of mildew. As soon as the front door was closed, a door at the end of the hallway opened, admitting a short, plump, motherly looking redheaded woman dressed in a long purple robe. She smiled warmly up at Professor Dumbledore, brown eyes flicking towards the Summers girls.
“Are these our new guests?” she asked.
“They are,” Dumbledore replied. “Molly, I’d like you to meet Buffy Summers and her sister, Dawn. Buffy, Dawn, I’d like you to meet Molly Weasley, a member of the Order. She, her husband and her younger children have been staying at Headquarters for the summer before school starts up in September.”
“It’s very nice to meet you, girls,” Molly said. “Do you have time to stay, Professor Dumbledore? I’m just setting out lunch now.”
“Unfortunately, no,” Dumbledore replied. “I need to make the final arrangements for our other guest arriving tonight.”
“You mean?” Molly asked, hopeful.
“Yes, he’s coming tonight,” Dumbledore said. “I trust the second bed in Ronald’s room is ready?”
“It has been since we’ve arrived,” Molly replied.
“I will see you all later tonight, then, for the meeting,” Dumbledore said. “I leave the Misses Summers in your capable hands, Molly.”
Dumbledore turned and left then, leaving Buffy, Dawn and Molly in the hallway. It was silent for a few moments before Molly smiled brightly at them again and gestured for them to come closer.
“Come along dears, lunch is about ready,” she said as Buffy and Dawn moved forward. “I’m afraid you have me at a disadvantage. Professor Dumbledore hasn’t told us a lot about you, just saying that you fought evil and would be willing to join our fight. Are you an American Auror?”
“Nope,” Buffy replied. She had to wrack her brain to remember where she had heard the term Auror before – it was a Dark wizard catcher – and shook her head to emphasize her point. “Just a girl here to fight the good fight, you know, get rid of the badness in the world. I’m sure Dumbledore will do the whole ‘splainy thing at the meeting tonight.”
“Yes, I believe he will,” Molly said. “Why don’t you two go downstairs to the kitchen while I go and get the children and find everyone else in the house?”
“Just down those stairs?” Buffy asked, pointing to the door Molly had emerged from. Molly nodded before turning and heading up the stairs, presumably to find her children. Buffy turned to her sister. “So, what do you think so far?”
“I think you’ve been holding out on me,” Dawn replied. “You and I are gonna have a long, long talk later.”
“Later,” Buffy agreed, and they both descended the stairs. While Molly and everyone else in the house were at a slight disadvantage, Buffy and Dawn were at a complete disadvantage, not knowing anything about anyone in the house. Well, except Harry Potter, but he wasn’t there and wouldn’t be until that evening.
“What’s up with that umbrella stand?” Dawn asked as they headed towards the door. Buffy turned and saw what Dawn was talking about; it was a severed and preserved foot, much larger than anything she’d ever seen before.
“Looks like a troll foot, but I can’t be sure,” Buffy replied. “I never did do well at Care of Magical Creatures. Still can’t figure out why the teacher hated me so much.”
“You didn’t mouth off at him or anything, did you?” Dawn asked.
“Not on purpose,” Buffy replied as they descended the stairs, heading to the kitchen.
The room was dominated by a large, scrubbed wooden table surrounded by chairs. Buffy surmised that this particular room was where the Order meetings took place, and where she would be spending a fair amount of her time. The stove was archaic, but at least the sink looked like it had running water.
“Old school much?” Dawn asked, looking around.
“Everything’s done by magic,” Buffy replied. “Witches and wizards don’t need electricity or anything like that.”
“I don’t like it,” Dawn said, wrinkling her nose as footsteps began descending the stairs. Buffy and Dawn both turned to see a tall, slim man with shoulder length black hair dressed in wizard’s robes. He looked gaunt, tired and haunted, as if he had seen horrors in his life and had yet to get over them. His dark eyes narrowed at the two girls suspiciously.
“Who are you?” he asked. “And what are you doing in my house?”
“Relax, Sirius,” Molly said, coming up behind him, followed by four redheaded children and one brunette girl. “This is Buffy Summers and her sister, Dawn. They’re part of what was discussed at the last meeting.”
The five children perked up a little at the mention of the meeting, craning their necks to get a good look at the two newcomers. Sirius looked at the two girls sceptically before sitting down at the table. As everyone else followed suit, the five children stared at their new guests, curiosity written all over their faces.
“It’s rude to stare, y’know,” Dawn said, eyes narrowing at the people blatantly staring at them.
“Dawn!” Buffy exclaimed. “Be nice
“What? They can be rude, but I can’t?” Dawn asked. “That’s so not fair.”
“No, they can’t be rude,” Molly said, looking pointedly at her children. The four redheads averted their gazes, but the brunette girl and the black-haired man did not.
“Who are you?” the girl asked, curious.
“Buffy Summers. This is my sister, Dawn,” Buffy replied.
“Who are you?” asked Dawn, crossing her arms.
“Hermione Granger,” Hermione replied. She began pointing out everyone else. “These are Ron, Fred, George and Ginny Weasley and Sirius Black.”
“Nice to meet you all,” Buffy said, before she kicked Dawn under the table.
“Yeah, sure, nice to meet you,” Dawn grumbled. Buffy made a mental note to ask Dawn about it later, but now was definitely not the time.
“Why are you joining the Order?” Hermione asked. “You don’t look old enough to be in the Order.”
“Appearances can be deceiving, as I’m pretty sure you’ve found out,” Buffy replied pointedly. Hermione was about to open her mouth again when one of the redheaded boys, Ron Buffy was sure, kicked her underneath the table. Hermione snapped her mouth shut and glared at her friend, and Buffy was quite certain there would be fireworks later.
It was Xander and Cordelia all over again, she was certain.
“Let’s just have a nice, quiet meal, shall we?” Molly suggested brightly, although there was a glint in her eye that said it was far from a suggestion, and that they should eat quietly if they knew what was good for them. “Then you can go back and finish cleaning out that drawing room you were working on.”
Mumbled agreements were made and they dug into their lunch – sandwiches and pumpkin juice with a simple vegetable plate – although sidelong glances were made at the two American newcomers. Lunch was quiet and tense for several minutes until Ron asked another question.
“So, are you going to be our new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher?” he asked. It was all she could do not to choke on her sandwich trying to bite back the laughter. As it was, she coughed a few times to cover up the guffaws that were threatening to come though.
“No, no, definitely not,” Buffy replied. “I’m definitely not teaching material. Besides, I never finished school. Got my OWLs but never got to take my NEWTs. Had to go home before I could sit those and never really got a chance to after that. Come to think of it, I never even got my OWLs results. I need to talk to Professor Dumbledore about that.”
It looked like Hermione was about to follow up on Ron’s question with one of her own, but Buffy held up a hand to silence her. She had heard something, sensed something in the house, and she wasn’t sure if she liked it. It had been years since she had been anywhere near the wizarding world, but she had slipped into identifying the different feelings she got almost immediately. The person who had entered the house was a supernatural being, although she wasn’t quite sure what it was.
Footsteps were heard coming down the stairs and soon a man with greying hair and tired eyes, wearing rather shabby looking robes. Hazel eyes locked onto another pair of hazel eyes, and the two predators stared each other down.
“Werewolf,” Buffy said, breaking the tense silence.
“Slayer,” the man said, breathing deeply. “You’re not here for me, are you?”
“Depends,” Buffy replied.
“On what?” the man asked warily.
“Are you now, ever have been or plan to be evil?” Buffy asked, cocking an eyebrow at him.
“No,” the man replied, tilting his head to the side in confusion.
“Then I’m not here for you,” Buffy replied as she stood, holding out her hand as her face broke out into a warm smile. “Buffy Summers, Vampire Slayer.”
“Remus Lupin, werewolf,” the man, Remus, introduced himself.
“Wait a second here,” Sirius said, looking from Remus to Buffy and then back to Remus. “What’s going on here?”
“She’s the Vampire Slayer,” Remus replied with a shrug.
“And that’s supposed to mean what to me?” Sirius asked. Everyone else was looking at her curiously, until Hermione’s eyes brightened after a moment.
“Slayer, comma The,” she began without being prompted. “In every generation a girl is Chosen, given the strength and skills to hunt the vampires, demons and forces of darkness. She is The Slayer.”
“Huh, she’s like a mini-Giles,” Dawn remarked.
“This still doesn’t explain why you’re here,” Sirius said.
“Professor Dumbledore believes that Voldemort,” Buffy began, and snorted when everyone in the room flinched, “might not just have witches and wizards in his army, and was hoping I could give some insight on what kinds of demons and vampires he might try to recruit. And, well, I have some close, personal information about him.”
“You’re not scared of saying the name,” Ron remarked, looking pale.
“It’s just a name,” Buffy replied with a shrug. “I can’t really call him Tom anymore, seeing as he’s nothing like the charming and handsome but also manipulative and jealous Slytherin he used to be.”
“How would you know that?” Sirius asked, narrowing his eyes at Buffy slightly.
“Dumbledore told me,” Buffy replied quickly with a shrug, unwilling to divulge her connection with Tom just yet. Although, if she thought about it, divulging that connection to these people would be a very bad thing – it sounded bad, their newest member being Voldemort’s – Tom’s – former girlfriend.
“But you just said…” Hermione began, but trailed off when she caught the look Molly was giving her.
“Now, how about we finish our lunch and then the children can go back to cleaning?” she suggested brightly, although there was a gleam in her eye that left no room for argument. Buffy sighed – it looked like she would have to confer with Dumbledore again to get her cover story straight. Same with Dawn, but there would probably be some time before the meeting that evening to speak to him about it.
The rest of the meal passed rather quietly and uneventfully and before long the children, sans Dawn, were filing out, grumbling about having to clean.
“Here, let me help you clean up,” Buffy said, grabbing a couple of the empty platters from the table and taking them up to the sink to be cleaned.
“Why thank you Buffy, that’s very thoughtful of you,” Molly said gratefully. “Hermione, why don’t you take Buffy and Dawn up to their room? It’s right across the hall from the one you share with Ginny.”
“Of course, Mrs. Weasley,” Hermione said, sounding grateful, probably because she was getting out of cleaning. Buffy would be too; she didn’t particularly like scrubbing anything, and she was sure that these kids weren’t allowed to use magic to do their chores, which would make it doubly unpleasant. As they ascended the stairs, though, Buffy was incorrect in her assumption, because as soon as they were out of earshot of the kitchen, Hermione started peppering them with questions.
“I knew I recognized your name – I’ve read all about you. Are you really the longest-living Slayer in existence?” Hermione asked.
“Um, maybe?” Buffy replied. She’d been told this, yes, but she wasn’t entirely sure how old Nikki Wood had been before Spike had killed her. After all, Robin had been three or four when his mother had died, if she remembered correctly.
“What kinds of demons have you encountered?” Hermione asked.
“That’s something you need to ask my Watcher,” Buffy replied. “He just usually told me what it looked like, how to kill it and pointed me in the right direction.”
“Isn’t there only supposed to be one Slayer at a time?” Hermione asked as she led them through the house. “I mean, not that we’re not thankful you’re here, because we are, but shouldn’t you be defending the Hellmouth or some other mystical convergence?”
“Things have changed since that book you read was published,” Buffy said. “Things are completely different from what they were, which makes it possible for me to fight the good fight from here.”
“But you said you were a Hogwarts student. Neither Slayers nor Potential Slayers are able to attend Hogwarts, the Watcher’s Council won’t allow it,” Hermione continued. “Besides that, you can’t be that much older than Harry, Ron or myself. Even if you are older than you seem, you must have attended at the same time as the twins and they don’t seem to remember you, either.”
“Think about when you were in first year. Were you aware of the people outside of your year? Besides your friends’ siblings, that is,” Buffy asked. Hermione thought about it for a moment, before she shook her head. “Besides that, I’m not going to tell you when I attended Hogwarts. Looking at school records won’t help either, because I think the only publicly listed names are the people who completed all seven years there.”
“Are you a Slayer too, then?” Hermione asked Dawn. “I haven’t read very much about what kind of connection siblings have to the Slayer line.”
“Nope, just a normal, human girl,” Dawn replied blandly. “Well, with some magic ability, but still, just a normal, human girl.”
“Do you use a wand?” Hermione asked.
“I didn’t even know there was such thing until wand magic until Bumblebee man came to the house this morning,” Dawn replied, shooting a pointed look at Buffy.
“Yes, we’re long overdue to do the while talking thing,” Buffy replied.
“Which is good, because we’re at the room,” Hermione said. Buffy and Dawn entered the room and Hermione stood at the door, shifting her weight from one foot to the other nervously.
“You’ve still got a ton of questions, don’t you?” Buffy asked. Hermione nodded eagerly. “We’ve got lots of time during the summer for you to pick my brain. Ew, brain picking. Is that worse than nose picking?”
“I don’t know, Buffy,” Dawn said with a laugh, shaking her head.
“Well, anyway, you have questions, I’ll try to answer them,” Buffy replied. “Just… not now. Maybe at dinner?”
“That will be after the meeting tonight, but I think I can wait,” Hermione said with an eager nod. “See you then!”
“She’s just like Quentin used to be when he first found out about the Slayer-ness,” Buffy said with a sad sigh once the door was closed and she was sure Hermione was out of earshot. She missed her best friend from the wizarding world, and she wondered, briefly, if he was still alive. Dumbledore had, after all, only said that he had disappeared in the ‘60’s. Disappeared didn’t mean dead, right? “So, you have questions, but first I want to ask you something. What’s your problem?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Dawn replied.
“Oh please, you were totally reverting back to brat there,” Buffy retorted with a snort. “What’s the deal?”
“I just… I don’t like the idea of all of these secrets you’ve kept,” Dawn said with a sigh. “You had this whole other life that none of us knew about and, I don’t know, I felt left out.”
“Well, you’re going to get the whole deal, right now,” Buffy replied. “So start asking.”
Dawn grinned at her sister before peppering her with questions, getting into the nitty-gritty details that she hadn’t gone into with Giles and Dumbledore.
Buffy and Dawn were still talking, laughing about the pineapple incident, when someone knocked at the door. Dawn got up to answer it, revealing Sirius standing in the hallway.
“I’m here to get your sister for the meeting,” he said gruffly.
“What am I supposed to do while she’s in this meeting thing?” Dawn asked, curious.
“Hang out with the other children, I suppose,” Sirius replied. “Harry’s just arrived. I’m sure he’d like to meet you.”
“Why can’t I sit in on the meeting?” Dawn asked, pouting a little. “I got to be a part of the Slayer meetings and stuff.”
“You’re not old enough,” Sirius replied. Dawn looked at Buffy, imploringly.
“Sorry Dawn. If the other kids can’t be a part of it, you can’t either,” Buffy replied. “Besides, it’s probably going like the research sessions back in Sunnydale. Y’know, long, dull and boring.”
“Okay, fine,” Dawn said with a pout. “But I’m not going to like it.”
“You’ll be in good company, then, because the other children don’t like being left out, either,” Sirius said with a reassuring smile.
“Come on, let’s get going already,” Buffy said, growing antsy. She could hear and sense many people downstairs and she was itching to see if she knew anyone in the Order.
“Yes, let’s,” Sirius said before leading them down the stairs. Buffy and Sirius left Dawn with the Gryffindors, where they were watching everyone arrive from their vantage point on the stairs before heading down to join the throng of people trying to go down the stairs to the kitchen.
As soon as she got to the bottom of the stairs she heard someone calling her name, a somewhat familiar Scottish brogue filled with surprise.
She turned and smiled at the older woman who had called her name. While she didn’t look a lot like the seventeen year old she had left behind, but there was a sparkle in her eyes that hadn’t changed a bit.
“Hi Minnie,” Buffy greeted quietly. Everyone in the room watched as the two women, one old and one young, approached each other. In another moment, a roomful of people was shocked into complete silence as they hugged each other tightly, tears beginning to flow down the older woman’s face.
“Where did you go?” Minerva whispered, holding the shorter girl tightly, as if she were going to disappear if she let go. “Why haven’t you changed?”
“Long story,” Buffy replied. “Long, long
story, one we definitely don’t have time for right now. How about you introduce me to everyone, huh?”
“I think that can be arranged,” Minerva replied, and she began making the rounds, shaking people out of their shock when they were introduced to Buffy. They were almost finished with the rounds when an older man entered the room, his heavily scarred face housing a pair of mismatched eyes. “Alastor! Buffy, this is Alastor Moody, one of the top –“
“Buffy?” Alastor asked, his normal eye widening when he spotted her. “Is that really you?”
XOXOXO Chapter two DONE. The Moody thing will be explained next chapter, I promise.