A flair for the dramatic
Author’s Note: Thanks very much to my Beta’s, Letomo and EllandrahSylver. The following ways of notation may be found in this story. This is excluding whatever I need to represent chatting, texting and stuff like that. And you can thank Twilightwanderer for the Abbott and Costello. Speech:
“Who’s on first.” Thought:
*What’s on second.
#I-don’t-know’s on third.# Greek:
^Who cares?^ Ancient Egyptian:
»Who’s that?« Latin:
~Who’s who?~ Telepathy:
%Who’s that in my mind?% Kaelas and LadyBold, thanks for recommending me, All my other recommenders, know that I appreciate every one of you, and for sticking with me.
Chapter 75 New YorkJFKAirport, December 27th
Xander looked around, the airport, looking at the departure gate they were heading for, eyes wide. “We’re flying out in a Concorde?”
Simon smiled and nodded. “We can use our time better than on an airplane. And I thought you might like it.”
Xander grinned broadly. “This is so awesome! Isn’t it, Willow?”
Willow nodded, a broad grin on her face. “Do you think we could get into the cockpit?”
Simon looked thoughtful. “Well, I do own stock in the enterprise. And it isn’t as if it pays any dividend…”
BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS Wallbrook House, Canon Street, London, England, December 27th
“But I wanna come too!” Rowan wailed.
Simon sighed. “You can’t Rowan. I have no idea how so much concentrated magic might affect you. You’ll have to stay here and be on remote call. I think we’ve warded your camera and the portable screen but I’m damned if I’ll let you risk your life on them. You’re staying here, young lady.”
“B-but I’ll be lagging! I’ll be behind times!” Rowan pouted, her lip quivering.
“Rowan, this is not a punishment. This is not because we don’t want you there. You can’t come because it might hurt or even kill you. You’ve suffered enough. Don’t disobey me in this,” Simon told her sternly.
“Huh. Or what? You can’t make me
scrub the toilet!” Rowan argued.
Joyce came into the camera’s view and on her screen Rowan winced. “Errr. Hi Mom. Didn’t know you were there.”
“I thought that might be the case. Don’t talk to your father so disrespectfully, young lady. He’s the only reason I didn’t tan your bottom over that DARPA hack of yours. Not to mention making you trawl through the internet at half speed to weed out bad code…” Joyce told her third eldest daughter warningly.
Rowan winced. “Sorry, Dad. It’s just…”
“You feel left out. I know. Aunt Penelope and the P’s will be here and so will your grandmothers and Grandpa James. They used to hunt Shamans for sport so he doesn’t feel like risking going there,” Simon soothed.
Rowan sighed like a teakettle. “Okay. I’ll accept the time lag. I promise I won’t move into the camera or into any other electronic device.”
Joyce cleared her throat pointedly.
Rowan flushed. “Or anything else, okay? I promise.”
Simon nodded. “Very good. I’m sure the others will tell you everything about it. Remember, you can be with us until Charing Cross Road.”
Rowan sighed. “I wouldn’t be able to come with you even in a robot body, would I?”
Simon shrugged. “Asking the wrong person here, Rowan. Willow might be able to tell you that after we’ve been to Diagon Alley.”
“That is, like, the stupidest name ever. And you say that one of the side streets is called Knockturn Alley?” Rowan shook her head. “Does focus use make your brain dribble out of your ears so you like really dumb puns?”
Simon grinned. “I’ll be sure to ask them that.”
Joyce groaned. “Don’t you dare, Simon! I’d like to come out of there with all of my children intact!”
Simon smiled. “They may be a bit backward but they are aware of the notion of diplomatic immunity. I’m an Ambassador and you are my family. The immunity extends to you as well. Which knowing Buffy and Xander’s propensity for finding trouble, and Dawn and Kit’s for wandering off…”
Joyce shook her head. “Maybe I really should lock all of them in their rooms until they’re thirty.”
“Underfloor demons would come out and play,” Simon commented dryly. He concentrated and his virtual double ruffled Rowan’s hair and kissed the top of her head. “Be a good girl, Rowan. I really don’t want to worry about you as well.”
Joyce smiled. “And that means no DARPA hacking, other hacking or looking at ‘interesting sites involving boys’ is that understood?”
Rowan squeaked, her eyes going wide and flicking towards Simon’s suddenly thunderous face. “Y-yes Mom! Promise!”
“Good. We’ll be back as soon as we can,” Joyce added her own kiss to Simon’s and the couple left. Rowan sighed and transferred her consciousness to the camera mounted on Willow’s shoulder. She at least could be with them until they got to Charing Cross road tomorrow. And today they were going to the British Museum!
BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS Montague Street, London, BritishMuseum rear entrance morning of 27th of December
Samantha Carter smiled as she stood near the reclining lion on its pedestal at the rear of the British Museum. She’d been to Carlton House Terrace and had visited with the staff at the Royal Society. It was a curiously warming feeling to know that such eminent scientists, such an old and respected institution was even considering her for membership. And was willing to let her submit her notes for perusal as the members argued about the possibilities. And having done one of the things she had come to Britain for, she was now going to visit the British Museum’s extensive collection of Egyptian artefacts and papyri. And not only to be able to tease Daniel about it, she loved the place, the atmosphere, the scents, the reading room. So after wandering through snow strewn London, looking at window displays and visiting a few bookshops on Great Russell Street, she approached the Museum from the rear entrance, on Montague Street.
It was then that she heard the crying. She blinked when she saw the blonde girl, wearing some sort of school uniform and a rather long, dark overcoat hanging open over it, sitting cross-legged next to one of the lions.
Sam didn’t know much about children. What she did know was that ten or eleven year olds, okay, maybe she was twelve, ought not to sit crying on a cold December morning in London beside a stone lion. If she didn’t do anything and the General or the Colonel ever found out, her life was going to be hell for a week or two. For tough professional soldiers both men had an exceptional weakness for children. Or maybe because of it.
Sighing, Sam walked over to the pedestal and looked at the girl. She was striking in appearance, not pretty. Her oval face was still rounded by youth and yet worn by grief; her silvery grey eyes bulged slightly under lightly curved brows that gave her a look of permanent surprise. Her ash-blonde hair was messy and straggly and Sam had to repress the urge to reach into her purse for a brush. Half of it hung over her face, the other half was thrown back over her shoulder, all of it was lank with cold and insufficient care. The girl’s nose was straight and slightly wide at the tip over her pink, firm mouth and stubborn little chin.
“Hello? Erm, are you all right?” Sam asked, feeling more than a little foolish. Even in her limited experience with girls they did not act this way if things were all right. “Are you looking for your mummy and daddy?”
The girl looked up Sam and sniffed a few times, trying to restrain her tears, and control her breath and sobs before she looked up at Sam. “No, I’m not all right. Daddy was going to take me here, but he can’t so I went here myself, but all it does is make me miss Daddy more.”
Sam winced a little. She knew quite what it was like to have an absent father. “Ah. That’s sad. I’m sure your daddy will go with you another time… Or maybe your mummy?” she ended hopefully.
The girl’s eyes widened impossibly and her lips quivered. “Daddy’s in hospital and he’s never coming out. You don’t get better from what he has. Maman was k-killed. I think she was m-murdered.” The tears, momentarily halted by the explanation, started again.
Sam groaned. *Holy Hannah, what do I do now?*
awkwardly patting the girl’s shoulder and trying to soothe her Sam saw the man in the dark grey coat approach. And point something at them.
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Buffy was not running away. She was not running at all. The fact that her mother had swung into a full, gushing spiel as she wandered through the huge museum, stopping by every artefact and explaining, at length, its archeological and cultural importance. Willow and Rowan would then comment on the fact that they belonged to the descendants of their creators and why it was wrong to store them in a place so far away from them. Kendra would listen attentively and nod, Xander had headed off to the Greek and Roman sculptures, probably hoping to locate naked classical boobage and Simon – Papa – had taken Kit and Dawn to see the Rosetta Stone and then they were going to see the mummies and, okay, Buffy was running.
She reached the back door and burst through it, taking deep breaths of fresh, non-academic air. And that was when she heard the crying. And remembered her vision, but it was different, there was a woman there, in a neat, conservative, business suit. She saw the man in the grey suit and overcoat point a stick, no wand at the girl. She saw he had slightly beetling brows and a receding hairline over a high forehead, and that his face was set in scowl as he seemed ready to speak. And then she jumped.
Adolphus Travers was quite happy with his life. Unlike his younger brother he had retained his freedom after the fall of the Dark Lord. Admittedly he had never risen as high in the Dark Lord’s favour either, but he was now free and there was no longer any need to pay a stipend to maintain Carolus in the manner he had been accustomed to. It was annoying he had to stick his neck out to deal with the stupidity of his Squib cousin. That branch of the family was nothing but trouble, having to keep an eye on them, making sure they still paid the proper tithes into the family treasury, it was all more trouble than it was worth in Adolphus’ opinion. Well, it would be if the tithes were not so considerable. And they had the audacity to claim that the House did nothing for them
If only they managed to produce some good, solid wizard and witches, they’d see what the House would do for them! But the idiots couldn’t even breed right! And now he had to kill the ridiculous Lovegood girl. There was a Muggle woman with the girl. Well, he had been told to kill a few people, and killing this Muggle at least was a pleasant task. He felt for knife in his pocket he was supposed to use after they were incapacitated. Quentin had to be destroyed in both worlds, Muggle and Magical. He aimed his wand and spoke. “CRUCIO!” the yellow beam shot out but the woman in the suit grabbed the girl and slid both of them off the pedestal and behind it, out of his field of vision. Adolphus growled and stepped closer. He could hardly miss from this range, it was impossible even.
Or it should have been until the little blonde Muggle hurled herself off the steps and onto him, grappling his arm, then pushing him in the chest. Travers stumbled back, surprised and then trained his wand on the girl. “PETRIFICUS TOTALUS!” a beam of icy blue light shot out of his wand but the girl dodged aside, ducked under the beam and then punched him twice in the face and kicked him in the groin. Adolphus went down like a poleaxed cow.
The little girl next to the lion looked at the scene with large, fearful eyes. Sam turned around and blinked. “Miss Summers?”
Buffy, looking at the fallen wizard with satisfaction, whirled round, her eyes narrowing as she recognized Sam. “Captain Carter? What are you doing here?”
“Visiting friends,” Sam replied. “And you?”
“Papa has a thing, a business thing, and brought all of us,” Buffy replied, then turned to the girl. “Hey, I’m Buffy. What’s your name?” she asked Luna.
“L-Luna, Luna Lovegood,” Luna replied, trying to disentangle herself from under the cover of Sam’s body.
“Lovegood?” Sam asked, “I don’t suppose you know anyone called Xenophilius Lovegood?”
The tears, which had stopped, started again, accompanied by sobs and gasps. Sam looked rather helplessly at Buffy and gently cradled the crying girl. Buffy went over to check the unconscious man and after a quick and thorough frisk, grabbed his wand and snapped it, throwing the pieces onto his chest. She pocketed the knife the man had had in his pocket. It was good quality and looked quite neat.
Luna had just calmed down slightly when there was a flash and suddenly three men in scarlet robes appeared, wands ready. “Miss Lovegood!” the biggest of them, a scarred, one-legged and one-eyed man glared at the girl who shrank away. “What do you think you’re doing here alone?” He asked menacingly.
Sam bristled. “That’s no way to talk to a child this upset! Who are you people anyway?”
Buffy’s eyes narrowed. “Guys with wands in scarlet robes? I’d say they’re Owlers, or something. That’s what Papa called them. Unless they changed the uniform.”
The man gave her a sharp look, raising his wand. “What’s your name, Miss?”
Buffy wrinkled her nose. “If you use that spell to erase my memory, Papa is gonna kill you, and not in a nice way. He really doesn’t like people messing with minds. It’s even in the Laws of the Concordat.”
The one eyed man snorted eying them both. “Channelers! Well, well.”
Buffy rolled her eyes. “Yeah, all’s well. So, how about picking up this guy and taking him with you? He was gonna do something nasty to Luna here, and I knocked him out. And he had a wand, so he’s one of your guys, right?”
“Knocked him out? Accio wand!” He smiled when he caught the two halves. “Edgeburrow, Barnstaple, restrain him and let’s get him back to the Department,” the one eyed man looked Buffy over with an interested gleam in his eye. Then he grinned, a flash of yellow, uneven teeth in his scarred face. “Well done. Miss Lovegood!”
Luna rose slowly. Sam glared, her best ‘I am senior to you and you know it, airman!’ glare. The man hesitated. Then, more kindly he continued. “Mrs. Weasley and the others are very worried, Miss Lovegood. Come on, let me take you to them,” he held out a hand. After a moment, the girl stepped towards him and then took the hand. The one eyed man looked at Sam and Buffy. “Thank you. I hope you enjoy your stay in Britain. Have a good day,” then he twisted on his heel and he and the girl were gone.
Buffy blinked. Sam gawped, then her eyes began to shine. “Was that a Zat’nik’tel in a stick? And Teleportation? Holy Hannah! What sort of technology do they have?”
Buffy sighed. “Yeah. Well, I’m glad you like it. I just hope that Mom and Papa aren’t too upset that the first thing I did when faced with focus users is to knock one out.”
Sam rose. “What can you tell me about these people? And do you know anyone called Xenophilius Lovegood?”
“Very little, and nope!” Buffy replied cheerfully. “And if you wanna know more, ask Papa. That’s General Meier to you. And now I need to get back in and make like I’ve been looking at Roman gods or Mom’s gonna be very annoyed with me! Bye!”
“Hey! Wait up!” Sam called, but Buffy hurried inside, leaving Sam to look after her ruefully, shaking her head.
Sam looked at the spot the little girl had sat and then went over the incident again in her memory. She gritted her teeth. “Please don’t let this be more magic…” she almost whined. Then she followed Buffy inside. Maybe she could ask the General later, or corner Buffy Summers. Or maybe even Willow. She sighed again and then she followed Buffy inside.
BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS Charing Cross Road, December 28th 1995
The group of people moving through the London streets were led by a tall, dark haired man in a good suit. Occasionally he would stare at a shopfront and squint. Finally he came to the shop he was looking for and crossed towards it.
“Ugh. Doesn’t look very nice,” Willow said as she took in the blackened iron cauldron that hung out like a sign and the unwashed leaded panes in the windows.
“It’s called the Leaky Cauldron, apparently. It’s been here for almost five centuries, and so has the dirt,” Simon replied absently. “We’ll change inside.”
Buffy wrinkled her nose. “It smells bad, it looks worse and you want us to change in there?”
Joyce cleared her throat. “Would you prefer doing it out here?”
Buffy grinned sheepishly. “Naah, inside will be fine.”
Joyce gave the door a doubtful glance and followed Simon inside.
The entire pub seemed to still as soon as they came in. Simon looked around, imperiously. “I am Simon Meier, Ambassador from the Concordat of the Covens of America. I require a room for me and my family to change and access to Diagon Alley.”
Behind him the children stifled their giggles. The bald man behind the bar blinked. “Simon… Meier? Are yer sure that is your name?”
“Quite sure. I’ve had it for more than fifty years. A room?” Simon dragged out his purse, which clinked.
“Yessir. This way. I’ll have separate rooms for you all, sir. I wasn’t told you’d be bringing quite this many people so it will be a few minutes.” Tom answered quickly.
“Wouldn’t you bring your children to see Diagon Alley? Or live it down if you didn’t?” Simon asked wryly.
Tom chuckled and opened a door. “This is your room, your Excellency, and your lady’s. This one next to it is for the other lady and gentleman an’ I’ll just take the youngsters to theirs.”
“Thank you,” Simon replied politely.
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Apparently they made an impressive group now that they were wearing robes. Simon strode down the stairs in his gleaming white robes, the gold embroidery around the collar and hem shining in the fading sunlight. The children followed in various coloured robes. Xander wore simple brown, oddly reminiscent of a Jedi. Simon had rather rolled his eyes at that but had acquiesced in his acquiring them. Buffy wore burgundy red over white, Willow leaf-green over white, Kendra was in purple and Kit and Dawn were in light and powder blue. All of them had very firmly refused the hats. Joyce walked at the rear of her brood, wearing a sea green robe and keeping an eye on Willow, Kit and Dawn.
Clarice and Patrick followed, Clarice in a rose coloured robes over red and Patrick in black and grey. Amy walked rather sulkily in front of them wearing a rather modest grey-blue robe that matched her eyes perfectly. The original black one with the rather deep neckline had obviously failed to pass the ‘Mom test’. It was rather amusing to see how seamlessly Clarice had stepped into that role.
Entirely at the back, pulling at her dove grey robes with green lining to try and minimize the discomfort, was Evy, walking between Jon, all in black, and Arlene, in robes the colour of her dress blues.
Tom blinked as the figure in white made his way to the exit and drew a wand. “I’m afraid I don’t know if the code for the bricks in the alley has been changed, so if you could tell me?” Simon asked courteously.
“You know about that, too?” Tom asked wonderingly, clearly not expecting American Channelers to be quite this well informed.
“We keep notes. It’s a family habit,” Simon smiled.
Tom smiled back. “I’ll show you, Your Excellency,” he went out and drew his wand, tapping the bricks in order and smiled as Simon’s eyes widened fractionally when they spread out to show Britain’s premier enclave of wizardry.
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“Wow!” Willow looked around, happily. “Oh, look! A wand shop!”
“No,” Simon said repressively. “In the first place you don’t need a wand, you need to find your inner focus, in the second place I doubt you have the patience to learn the spells and movements to be able to cast spells while using a focus, in the third place, from what I have gathered and seen, using a focus confines your use of magic, despite the boost in magic the focus provides and the faster and more obviously impressive results. I think, and I think you will eventually agree, that they are also more limited in the applications of their abilities.”
Willow gave the shop window another, longing gaze. “But…”
Simon shook his head. “And in the fourth place I have no idea of the exchange rate. I’m not buying you anything unless I know what it costs. The bank first. According to the notes it should be over there,” he pointed and led the way. Willow, with a last longing glance at Olivander’s, pouted and followed the rest of the family.
They didn’t really notice the odd looks they garnered, or the way in which the young witches and wizards goggled and swallowed as Simon swept by, robes billowing.
The bank was huge marble building. A rather ugly, big headed and big eared creature stood in front of it. Kit sidled over to Simon and pulled on his sleeve anxiously. “Daddy? What are those things?”
“Goblins, I think. I’ve never seen them before, but they run this bank, most of the Wizarding banking system really. The Wizarding nations don’t trust each other enough for sound financial transactions to be enacted-”
Kit unerringly homed in on the important part of that statement. “Wait, Goblins? Like Uncle Patrick?” She looked from the small, stunted creatures to the large man just behind her.
Simon smiled. “Many generations ago, yes. Come on, we need to get in.” He extended a hand to Kit and Dawn each. A redheaded young man came out of the great double doors and looked at them with a startled expression on his face. Then Simon and the two girls entered the bank, Buffy close on their heels. And above them a great black bell started tolling, shaking the dust of ages from its years of disuse onto the customers below and sending waves of sound into every corner of the bank.
Simon looked up, his face slightly worried. “Well, that can’t be good.”
BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS HogwartsSchool for Wizardry and Witchcraft, Staff Lounge
Severus Snape was drinking very black coffee and playing Gobstones against Minerva McGonagall on the long table used for the staff meetings. At the other end Silvanus was facing off against Filius in a game of Wizard’s chess. In the corner with the easy chairs Charity Burbage, Pomona Sprout, Aurora Sinistra and Septima Vector were playing bridge, the Astronomy and Arithmancy professors winning due to their relentless mathematical minds, but Burbage and Sprout, far more intuitive players, were not giving up easily.
Albus was drinking chocolate milk in the corner, the brown substance staining his beard. The fact he was sucking a lemon sherbet at the same time and made contented noises after every sip made his presence very distracting. Poppy Pomfrey was reading a large tome on pregnancies and making copious notes. Another volume on the Mother power was beside it. Opposite her, Irma Pince was reading a slimmer volume, a frown on her face.
In another corner Hagrid was patiently holding up Sybil Trelawney’s wool as the Divination professor knitted. They were talking softly about unicorns and their mystical importance to Muggles and their early use to detect virgins and the abuse that had been the result.
All in all it was a quiet scene. No one would know that outside the door a raging mass of Weasleys and Malfoys was preparing for an epic battle of Quidditch. The door opened and then slammed shut and Narcissa Malfoy sat down on a couch, her face flushed and her eyes flashing, crossing her arms.
Without looking up Madame Pomfrey spoke. “Lord Malfoy and Lady Margaret are quite right, Lady Malfoy. Playing Quidditch in your condition, at this time, before we are sure the fetus is safely settled, would be too risky.”
Narcissa opened her eyes wide in amazement. “W-what?”
Poppy looked up. “I heard you wanted to fly Chaser. I guessed what might happen. And they are right. You can’t take the risk, Lady Malfoy.”
Narcissa lifted an eyebrow. A tiny smirk appeared on her face.
Severus, observing this shook his head in resignation. “You’re getting a pink and not green nursery for Lyra out of this, aren’t you?”
Narcissa’s smirk became a tiny grin as the teaching staff turned towards her. “Oh, I was getting that anyway Severus. This just lets Lucius say I’m only getting it because he doesn’t want to upset his pregnant wife, not because he can’t refuse me anything…”
Severus sighed and looked around the room. “Are you all taking notes? In twelve years or so a lovely little minx, half Black, half Malfoy is coming into this school. Merlin help us all.”
Albus smiled. “I look forward to it greatly. But should you give away your secrets so easily, Lady Malfoy?”
Minerva moved her king, scowling at Snape. “Oh really Albus, we’ve known he can’t refuse her anything since he serenaded her on Mermaid Rock in his sixth year.”
Narcissa flushed slightly. “Yes, it seemed a bit useless to hide it.”
For Filius’ ears only Silvanus whispered, “And it throws us off our guard to see her so open and happy. We’d better be on our toes on our brooms this afternoon, Filius.”
Filius nodded. “A good point, a very good point.”
Suddenly the Floo burned green and a young man with red hair burst through. “Headmaster! You have to come! Aurors are trying to arrest the Ambassador from the Covens!”
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Simon stood in front of the children and Joyce, arms akimbo, wand in his hand, and an imperious look on his face.
Clarice and Patrick had Amy thrust behind them and Arlene and Jon Evy, who was flickering in and out of sight, much to the amazement of the men and women in scarlet robes surrounding them. All looked wary and about ready to start hitting people, if need be. It was Simon who finally spoke in careful, unemotional tones. “I am an accredited ambassador. My Letters of Accreditation were approved by the Minister and returned to me by Eagle Post. They include full diplomatic immunity for all my family. You will not take my daughter or harm her in any way,” he finished in tone of voice that boded no good for the seven Aurors who stood facing him, their own wands pointed at the family warily. The three who were lying on the floor senseless had caused that wariness.
The head of the Auror detachment looked at Buffy who was studying her nails, or at least pretending to. He was not going to take anything regarding her for granted considering that she’d just dodged seven hexes and decked three of his people, one of whom who’d have an interesting, blunt end of a stake-shaped bruise to explain. “Sir, regardless of that she is a dangerous and dark Creature and ought to be circumscribed by spells or at the very least leashed! The danger she poses to the pub-”
“What is going on here?” a sneering, incisive voice interrupted from the doorway. “Drawn Wands? That is no way to treat an Ambassador!”
The Auror winced. “Ah, Lord Malfoy. The Ambassador is probably unaware of the nature of his daughter. She, ah, the alarm only goes off when the Slayer is near.”
The tall blond man who had spoken blinked. “Slayer? The Vampire Slayer?” He looked keenly at the group of teens hiding behind the man in white and then focused on the face above it, haughty, saturnine and sardonic, the strong nose and the brown eyes, the cheekbones and chin. He blinked, once slowly in surprise. “I see. Well, there is no problem at any rate. The Ambassador from Norway several years back had a Norwegian Ridgeback as his pet and it was covered under the diplomatic immunity though a special exception was made to state that the Ambassador would recompense for any damage done. I’m sure the Ambassador here would be delighted to add such a clause, don’t you think so, Chief Warlock?”
Dumbledore stepped into the doorway beside him, clad in deep purple robes and with a white ermine stole around his shoulders. The official robes of the Chief Warlock however really should not have been neon and the ermines at the end of the stole ought not to have been chittering excitedly. The bright yellow and green boots were no help either. “Indeed, I think so Lord Malfoy. Ambassador. It is good to meet… you… again.” Dumbledore’s eyes flickered over the prone forms and then to the other man’s face. “It has been how long? Fifteen years?”
“Almost fifteen. You visited just after the War of the Five Traitors. I seem to recall you were looking for an alliance and offered nothing,” Simon answered dryly. “Nothing except platitudes and condescension. And now your police force is trying to imprison or kill one of mankind’s first and strongest bulwarks against demons and evil. Forgive me for not being terribly impressed.”
Lucius raised an eyebrow. “How very diplomatic.”
“I was raised to kill people and beings that endangered humanity and the world. My diplomacy tends to be of the big stick variety. I’m supposed to be quite good at it,” Simon grinned. “My eldest daughter may be even better,” he continued, his wand moving marginally to cover an Auror who was moving to get a clear shot at Buffy. “Move again and die. I may not be very good with a wand, but I assure you a mere ten, sorry, seven of you are no match for me and my family,” he warned.
The senior Auror looked at his unconscious underlings again and swallowed nervously, then looked at Dumbledore.
Albus gestured. “Please leave this to us, Auror Owlsbury. I think you will agree that we are more than enough to deal with a Slayer,” he added soothingly. “Ah, and here are Professors Kettleburn and Flitwick. I think you remember them. If anyone can handle a Slayer if is Professor Kettleburn.”
Owlsbury looked at the man in white and then at the man in purple and then at the two rather terrifying looking old men in their Grindelwald War Uniforms and nodded. “Yessir! Lord Dumbledore, sir! Lord Malfoy! Aurors! Dismissed!”
He took a step aside to stand next to Dumbledore as the Aurors filed out, carrying their wounded. “You will talk to the Branch Manager, won’t you sir? The Goblins really don’t like Slayers…”
Dumbledore nodded. “I will indeed. Thank you, Auror Owlsbury.”
Once the Aurors had left a goblin came forward, flanked by a number of goblin guards. “We need assurances that the Slayer will be controlled and not allowed to slay our people. We were declared off limits for Slaying in the Treaty of Tiryns, remember,” he eyed Buffy warily as he spoke.
Buffy glared at him. “I am not a dog to be controlled!”
“Buffy,” Simon put a hand on her shoulder and Joyce hugged her from behind. “Buffy does not kill indiscriminately, I assure you. And she does so not because she is controlled, but because she chooses not to do so. And to state otherwise is insulting. So unless you act in ways that make it necessary for the Slayer to deal with you, you will be safe. From her…” There was a very clear warning in the last words.
The Goblins swallowed slightly as he eyed the wand. “I see. My apologies, I was not aware. Most humans do not think highly enough of Goblins to make such moral decisions.”
“You think and talk and even though Papa said you are apparently the world’s most rapalicious merchant bankers, worse than Gordon Gecko, that doesn’t make it right to kill you,” Buffy asserted and pointed at Patrick. “Besides, Uncle Patrick is part Goblin and you might be his cousin or something.”
Joyce smiled at the Goblin’s stunned expression as he turned to the big man. Then his eyes narrowed. “Indeed. I greet you, Patrick. We must see of what Family and Forge-clan you are,” then he turned briskly towards Simon. “Is there anything else you wanted?”
Simon reached into his pocket and withdrew a key ring. “I have some vaults here, I’d like to visit them and withdraw some funds and warn you I wish to audit the books and the way the investments have been handled.”
The Goblin looked at the keys and then up, his eyes widening ever so slightly. A smaller golden bell hung next to the black one. It too, had been divested of dust. The goblin bowed. “It will be our pleasure, if you would step this way, we can see what vaults correspond with these keys.”
“Numbers three, seven and nine,” Simon added helpfully. He nodded at Dumbledore. “Chief Warlock, I’ll see you at the time of our scheduled appointment?”
“Indeed, Magister, you will. Indeed you will,” Dumbledore replied, stroking his beard, thoughtfully studying the man. Beside him, Lucius Malfoy had paled to the colour of Simon’s robes.
BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS Malfoy Manor, Wiltshire
“Lucius? Are you alright? What happened?” Narcissa asked her husband rather worriedly. He had entered the Manor, staggered to his study and downed three tumblers of Firewhisky in less than five minutes.
Lucius looked up, his eyes bright. “Eight centuries… We’ve been waiting for eight centuries, looking, observing… and he walks into Gringott’s to inquire after his accounts.”
Narcissa blinked. “What? You mean The Heir?”
“The Heir,” Lucius nodded. “The Heir is the Ambassador from the Covens, I’m sure of it. He had the Wand of Bone, Narcissa! I could feel it!”
Narcissa sat down, her hand on her belly, her eyes wide. “We could be released from the Oath?”
Lucius swallowed his last drop of whisky. “If he accepts us, yes. He-he might consider me too flawed…” His gaze fell on his left sleeve. “I have not led a perfect life and he is a Mug- Normal-born Channeler. The way he held the Wand of Bone showed that. He had no idea what he was doing with it.”
“A Normal-born Channeler?” Narcissa looked shocked. “Merlin, so that is where they have been hiding?”
Lucius nodded wryly. “In plain sight. Oh, there are no doubt spells hiding them as well, but none of us imagined that any wizard who held the Wand of Bone would, or could, resist
“So what do we do now?” Narcissa asked, uncertainly.
“Reveal ourselves. Hope. That is all we can do. We cannot miss this chance, beloved. We have to take this risk,” Lucius took her hand and laid his hand atop of hers on her belly. “No matter how dangerous it is.”
BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour
Buffy leaned back in her leather-upholstered chair and looked at the large, empty dish that had held the most amazing ice-cream she had ever tasted. Her expression was pensive and very slowly changed into a scowl.
“Want to talk about it?” Joyce asked.
“W-what?” Buffy looked up, startled.
“Whatever you’re thinking about. Want to talk about it?” Joyce repeated. “I’m not sure, but I imagine it’s unsettling to be considered a dangerous creature that has to be leashed.”
Buffy looked at the table next to hers where Kit and Dawn were trying to devour their bodyweight in ice-cream, and across the road to where Willow and Amy were peering into the display window of a large bookshop called Flourish & Blott’s.
“Yeah. Sorta. Mom? Do you think I’m evil?” Buffy asked in a small voice. “I do kill demons and vampires. Maybe some of them were good?”
“If they are they certainly don’t show it. From the examples I’ve seen the ones who are good are like the Kirby’s, much like us. There probably are evil Cheila, just like there are evil humans. But the only vampire I’ve met I’m even halfway sure is not evil is Liam,” Joyce countered.
“Halfway sure?” Buffy glared at her mother. “He’s helped a lot!”
“Depending how you look at it he’s either twenty-five, a hundred or two-hundred and fifty years old and dating a fifteen year old. In all cases a bit too Lolita for my blood, at the very least,” Joyce answered wryly. “I still don’t approve of that.”
“You’re marrying Simon! He’s older than you are!” Buffy argued.
“He’s also human, and comparatively our ages are a lot closer than you and Liam. I’d have to date someone at least six hundred years old to get into your league,” Joyce smiled, trying to take the sting out of the comment. “But the point is that you’re not an indiscriminate killer. I think you accepting Patrick as something not to kill made a good impression. Now, want another ice-cream?”
Buffy nodded, perking up. “Yes, please.”
Xander wandered up to their table. “You know, they’ve got owls here they use like postal pigeons? Do you think I could get one?”
Joyce wrinkled her nose. “Ugh, no Xander! Pigeons are like rats, terribly unhygienic. And owls are probably no better. Would you like some more ice-cream, Xander?” she offered as Xander turned on his sad puppy look. She had intended to do so anyway and letting him think those sorts of harmless ploys worked on her, and letting her daughters think the same, actually made life a little easier. Most of the time.
Xander’s face lit up. “Uh, yeah, thanks!”
Joyce smiled. Sometimes teenagers were very easy to raise. Now all they needed was for Simon to come out of the bank and go to this Hogwarts place.
BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS The Leaky Cauldron, Diagon Alley
“We have to go through the fire?” Amy asked skeptically.
“Yes, using this Floo Powder,” Simon held out a tin reminiscent of one used for car sweets. “Not the most elegant way to travel, but apparently it’s fast.”
“Won’t we get burned?” Willow eyed the fire anxiously.
“Not if we use the powder,” Simon explained. He put the tin on a nearby table, grabbed and threw a pinch into the fire and spoke, clearly enunciating. “Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry,” the fire flared green and Simon stepped towards the hearth. Just as he was about to step in it Kit yelped and flung herself at him grabbing his robes, both of them disappearing in a flash of green light.
BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS Hogwarts
Albus Dumbledore was contemplating the cup of syrupy tea in his hand. Opposite him two of his oldest friends were sitting and contemplating their own variations on the theme of tea. Silvanus’ held a good dollop of Firewhisky and Filius drank his with a dash of Crème de cassis. “I was never certain when I met him before, what with all the spells that hid his features and identity but now…” Dumbledore mused.
Kettleburn snorted. “They look alike, certainly. That doesn’t mean they are related! Well, no more than you and I are!”
Albus lifted an eyebrow and his eyes went distant. “Second cousins, aren’t we? Through my mother and yours? And third through our fathers?”
Kettleburn nodded. “We’re too Merlin cursed inbred in this society.”
The Floo flashed and a shape clad in white stumbled through, pushed off balance by a much smaller one in light blue robes. The one in light blue looked around, focused on the one in white and clung to him, hugging him around the middle. “Daddy! Are you alright?”
“I’m fine, Kit. I’m fine. How are you?” A resonant baritone responded. Filius sighed.
Albus rose. “Your Excellency. I must admit I was expecting you to announce yourself before arriving.” He frowned. “As a matter of fact the wards should have kept you out.”
Simon blinked. “Ah. This is not an anteroom then? Interesting. Katherine, this is Albus Dumbledore, Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot. We met him earlier, you remember? That’s somewhat similar to the Speaker of the House and the Lord Chief Justice rolled into one,” he explained. “Lord Dumbledore, my daughter Katherine, we call her Kit for short.”
“Pleased to meetcha!” Kit greeted Dumbledore cheerfully. Then she wrinkled her brow. “Isn’t that against the separation of the powers thing you kept talking about when we talked about far-too many greats grandfather who signed the Declaration of Independence and helped write the Constitution?”
Simon smiled. “Yes, it is. One of the problems of the Wizarding world, actually. Well spotted. See, if a nine-year old child can see it…” He grinned at the three wizards.
Dumbledore smiled. “I see you are as subversive as ever.”
The fire flared green again and Buffy came through, a stake in her hand, then again to let through… nothing?
Albus closed his eyes. The wards were telling him something was in his rooms but even his senses could not see or feel it. “Extraordinary. Spirit power of invisibility?” he asked, curiosity brimming into his voice.
Simon sighed. “Evy? You can turn visible now. And does your mother know you just did that?”
Evy shimmered into view, looking rather abashed. “No, Uncle Simon. Errr, Buffy? Aunt Joyce was screaming about grounding and not sitting for week when I left…”
Buffy winced. “Aunt Arlene is not gonna be happy either… Split until they cool down?”
Evy nodded wincing as the fire crackled and both girls turned to see if it had turned green again. “Split!”
The two teens ran to the door Buffy pointed at and were down the stairs in seconds. There were some muffled thumping noises and then Buffy’s voice. “Open up you stupid stone door thing!”
Dumbledore smiled. “In the interests of justice I kept the door closed.” Then he blinked. “The Slayer
is afraid of her mother
Kit glared at him. “She’s Buffy
first,” then she sobered. “And you’ve never seen Mama in a snit.”
Simon blinked. “Kit, have you called her that where she could hear?”
Kit shook her head. “No, I will-” the Floo flared again and a figure in blue rolled through, made controlled landing and surged to her feet, battle-ready.
Simon cleared his throat. “At ease, Major. Evy is down the stairs, from the sounds of it trying to get past a secret or magical door, in hopes of avoiding her punishment.”
Arlene straightened her robes and nodded at the three men, then followed Kettleburn’s pointing finger.
“What an interesting lady,” Kettleburn murmured, his eyes bright with interest.
“My future sister-in-law,” Simon clarified. The Floo flashed several times in quick succession, until the entire family was through, Dumbledore noted the slight flash of apprehension on the Ambassador’s face when the Floo swirled like a vortex and burned in bright oranges and yellows when a lanky teenage boy came through. The last person to come through was a very handsome woman with soft blonde curls, who Dumbledore presumed to be the Ambassador’s future wife Joyce, her eyes stormy.
“Down the stairs over there, love. Arlene went down already,” Simon pointed. Joyce nodded and moved, sending a look at Kit as she passed.
Kit swallowed and stepped towards her. “I’m sorry, Mama. I panicked.”
Joyce face softened, as did her eyes. “I see. Well, no doubt Headmaster Dumbledore has some paths that need shovelling, what with all this snow. If you’ll excuse me?” She went down the stairs.
Dumbledore stroked his beard. “I see what you meant, young lady. Quite a formidable lady is your mother. Shall we head downstairs? There is more room there. And some people I’d like you to meet.”
Simon nodded. “That will be fine, we’ll do the rest of the introductions downstairs. C’mon kids.”
BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS Great Hall, Hogwarts
Molly Weasley mustered her children, lined up in their new clothing. At the end of the line Luna stood, drooping and pale. Her new clothes seemed to hang about her and her eyes were distant. Molly had not been able to bring herself to punish the girl other than a very mild scolding. She admitted to herself that she’d run in like a bull in a china shop and expected Luna to conform to Weasley ways without first seeing what had been the Lovegood ways. In the end, Bill and Arthur had taken Luna to the British Museum and visited the Egypt exhibition.
“Now, these people aren't wizards, but they are Channelers, so they do know about magic. And they are very important in the Channeling world. That means you will all be on your best behaviour, is that understood?”
The row of red heads, one black head and one blonde head all nodded, with various gradations of vigour. “Very good,” Molly turned and faced the two older looking men behind the table. “You said you knew his father, Professor Kettleburn?”
Kettleburn nodded. “A very brave, resourceful man. Very powerful, too. I think he might very well have been as powerful as Dumbledore. Possibly even more powerful.”
There was a gasp from Harry. “More powerful? B-but Professor Dumbledore is the most powerful wizard alive!”
“Yes, well, the Ambassador’s father is dead. And please note that it is quite likely that there are currently among the younger generations wizards and witches potentially as powerful – though less experienced – than the Headmaster,” Kettleburn clarified.
“Wow. Never thought of it like that,” Bill looked around, wonderingly.
While Molly was distracted Fred and George had been easing out of the line and towards the door and were now picking up speed and ran through the double doors only to collide with a figure that almost fell by the violence of their collision.
“Oh, Merlin’s Beard!” George began.
“Professor Snape?” Fred continued.
“Why are you wearing white?” George asked.
“And what happened to your hair? And your nose? And your hump?” came Fred’s incredulous whisper.
“Sir!” George finished on a near squeak as the man glared at them.
“My name is not Snape, it is Meier. I wear white because it is the colour generally worn by Magisters of the Covens. And my hair has been cut this way for twenty years,” Simon told them repressively.
“We need to talk about that,” Joyce murmured to Clarice.
“And who is this Professor Snape? And who are you two?” Simon continued, ignoring the comment.
Molly, having heard the commotion, appeared in the doorway. “My sons, Fred and George. Merlin! Severus?”
“Who is this Severus?” Simon asked, rather irritably.
“Professor Severus Snape, our Potions teacher, he bears a remarkable likeness to you, I must say,” Filius Flitwick piped up.
Clarice’s eyes narrowed. “How old is this Professor Snape?”
Filius blinked. “Errr, I think he was born in 1962. Why do you ask?”
Clarice shook her head. “Never mind. Will we meet him?”
“Headmaster Dumbledore insisted he be here. He’s probably not very happy about it. He hates functions such as these,” Fillius leaned upward to whisper the last words.
Fred snorted. “He hates everything, you mean. Ouch!” Molly grabbed his ear and dragged him off, hissing about inappropriate comments about his teachers.
Simon raised an eyebrow. “Sounds like an interesting man. Shall we go in? I seem to recall that the Minister’s representative will be here in an hour or so? That gives us sufficient time to meet with the members of staff and to get a feel for the problem. And for the children to be assigned a few interesting chores.”
Buffy, Evy and Kit winced. “Papa! We were worried!” Buffy tried.
“And you knew that there was little or no danger except for a careless landing or a bumped head. You acted without thinking. An hour or so of shoveling snow should remind you to think before you act and look before you leap,” Joyce told her sternly, Arlene’s nod confirming the verdict.
“Grandpa Jon never did!” Evy argued. “He told me to hang the torpedoes, always!”
Arlene turned towards Jon who had the grace to look a trifle embarrassed. “Did you also tell her about the drinking binges and the kisses with various mammals?” she asked dryly.
“No, Jack did that. Evelyn, when I told you that I did not expect you to start imitating me. As your Great-grand uncle Rick would say, do as he says, not as he does,” Jon looked slightly affronted. “He says that an awful lot.”
Evy looked down at her feet. “I’ll remember that, Grandpa Jon.”
“See that you do,” he told her mock severely, sending a pleading look at Arlene.
Arlene shook her head. “Shovelling will do her good.”
“I have found that physical labour is an excellent way to build up a good appetite for dinner,” Dumbledore spoke from next to Simon. “Shall we?” He gestured at the doors and then went inside.
There were several gasps as the ceiling of the Great Hall came into view. Simon however frowned. “Impressive. But it makes me wonder what powers it?”
Dumbledore gave him a sideways glance. “Magic, of course.”
Simon raised an eyebrow again and merely shook his head.
“Are they too impressed by magic to speak, Headmaster? Or struck dumb by the presence of the Weasley Twins’ incandescent conversation? Or is it, Merlin forbid, your version of the Chief Warlock’s traditional costume?” A glorious rolling baritone inquired, with an audible sneer.
Clarice turned towards the voice and gasped. “Simon? I think I understand why people kept looking at you strangely…”
Severus Snape strode into the hall, his black robes billowing. He blinked as he looked at the figure clad in white and then scowled. “Is this some sort of joke, Headmaster?”
Simon took a step forward, studying the younger man. “Not a joke. Professor Severus Snape? I am Simon Meier, this is my family.”
Snape glared at him. “Congratulations. You’re as fecund as a Weasley.”
“Lovely man,” Willow whispered to Xander. Severus swung his eyes towards her and Willow let out an involuntary ‘eep’.
Arlene blinked. “Wow. They’ve even got the same glare! That is classic Old Bloodybones!”
Simon turned his head very slowly, his glare pinning her. “I’m not retired yet
, Major. And I know General Hammond…”
Arlene gulped, her eyes widening. “Sorry, Sir!”
A very swift flicker that might have been amusement passed over Snape’s face.
Simon looked at Dumbledore. “I do not want to sound impolite, but can we have a room to speak with Professor Snape? In private?”
Dumbledore nodded. “Severus, the Lounge is empty.”
Snape snorted and gestured. Simon squeezed Joyce’s hand and then followed Snape, with Clarice on his arm.
Luna in the meantime had edged over to the Family and tugged on Buffy’s sleeve. The older girl had been scuffing the floor and pouting. She looked up. “Oh, hey, Luna.” Then she winced as her mother turned round, looked at the two blondes and raised an eyebrow.
“You know this young lady?” Joyce asked.
“Yeah, errr, remember that vision I had? This is Luna we, errr, sorta met yesterday…” Buffy’s voice trailed off as she saw the anger rekindle in her mother’s eyes. “I kinda shoulda told you that earlier shouldn’t I?”
Joyce’s reprimand was cut short by Molly Weasley. “Luna? This is the girl who saved you?”
Luna nodded. “Yes. I didn’t know who she was.”
Molly stepped closer to Buffy and then suddenly hugged the girl to her ample bosom. Buffy’s arms flailed a bit and Joyce stifled a grin. “Thank you, thank you for saving her.”
Buffy rather red in the face straightened her robes. “Captain Carter helped too. Errr… What happened to the guy who attacked her?”
Molly shook her head. “He was impersonating a cousin, something to do with an inheritance. He killed himself before he could be fully questioned.”
“Oh. What was he called? Do ya know?” Buffy asked, curious.
“Travers, Adolphus Travers,” Molly answered.
Buffy looked as if the name sounded familiar but she couldn’t remember from where. Kendra’s eyes widened and she sought out Joyce, who gently reached out and took her hand, her eyes thoughtful.
Molly’s sharp brown eyes noted the reactions and briskly went on, allowing the Family time to recover, but making a mental note to ask what the reason was. “Now come on, I want you all to meet my children,” Molly smiled at Dawn and Kit. “This is Luna. We’re taking care of her because her parents can’t.”
Kit swallowed. “I know how that feels.”
Luna smiled wanly. “I’m sorry. I don’t think you quite do.”
Kit took step closer to the blonde. Her eyes narrowed. “I don’t know who my father is, I don’t think even my Mom knew,” Kit hissed. “She was turned into a vampire and she tried to kill me and I only survived because we didn’t have enough money to buy a new wooden spoon and she ran onto the broken end! I lived alone for months, wild in the woods and nearly died before Mama and Dad took me in! Before you think you are the world record holder for grief, you might want to see if there are others in the running!” her voice had risen to a shout near the end of her tirade.
Luna had shrunk back from the angry, younger girl, her eyes widening with every word. “I-I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” Tears started running down her face.
Kit looked suddenly very guilty. “Hey, I’m sorry too! I shouldn’t have yelled at you. C’mon let’s go over here and talk, ‘kay?”
Molly blinked as she saw the two girls move towards one of the benches under one of the Christmas trees.
“Well, that was unexpected. She might actually have gotten through to Luna. I’m Molly Weasley,” she held out a hand to Joyce.
Joyce smiled back. “Joyce Summers. I’m Simon’s fiancée.”
The women shook hands and then both their eyes widened. Molly let go of Joyce’s hand and shook hers, as if to get rid of some feeling of electrical discharge. “Well. That was strange. Might I ask your House and Lineage?”
Joyce sighed. “House Warren, the Lineage of Johnson. My Aunt is the Matriarch.”
Molly beamed. “House Warren! Wonderful! And these are your daughters? Bill? Charlie! There are some young ladies over here I’d like you to meet.”
BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS The Teachers’ Lounge
Snape sat himself down in a fat cushioned old armchair by the fire. He snapped his fingers and a house elf appeared. Simon glared at the thing as if it was the devil.
“Tea, please, Miffy,” Snape told the elf casually. The elf disappeared. Snape leaned back in the chair and steepled his fingers. “You seem to think we are related in some way? I assure you there is no possibility for that to be the case.”
“Why?” Clarice asked.
“I know who my parents are,” Snape’s face twisted. “Regrettably.”
“Our father,” Simon gestured at himself and Clarice, “Was not really interested in the opinion of the people he bedded. If he decided he wanted your mother, she would have had little say in the matter.”
Snape blinked. “He was a rapist?”
“He certainly raped my mother,” Clarice told him, her eyes hard. “Though I think he mostly paid people. Enough money or the right lever…”
Severus tapped his fingers together. “Why would he not take an interest in his children then? Even the illegitimate ones get some attention in our world. Is this not so in yours?”
“My mother cast a spell that hid me; yours might have done something similar, or maybe a family member?” Clarice tried.
“And if he had known, yes, you would have had his attention,” Simon confirmed. “Especially if you had powerful magic.”
Clarice reached out. “Simon…”
“And he would have killed me so you could have been the heir. I am what in your culture is called a Squib,” Simon told Severus, his eyes on the almost black eyes before him. “All the magic I use comes from outside of me.”
Severus nodded, slowly. “I see. Well, I’m afraid that despite appearances,” his lip curled, “I am not related to you. My father was Tobias Snape and my mother was Eileen Prince. I was born in Manchester and my mother nor I ever even came near to America.”
“When were you born?” Simon asked.
“January 9th, 1962. There… are you happy now?” Snape glared.
Simon nodded his head. “That would mean he would have had to visit the UK in 1961. That is quite possible. He often came here to look after the business interests and to bed a few ‘British birds’,” Simon grimaced as if remembering something distasteful.
“You seem not to think very highly of him?” Severus sneered.
“He was a murderer, a rapist, a thief and liked to hurt people. If you had asked me a year ago I would have told you I would not have minded being killed and been replaced by you,” Simon answered coolly.
Severus blinked. “Ah… I take it your childhood was not universally happy?” he sneered. “Yet I assume that you were well fed and clothed? Had all the best, and newest books? I had all the abuse, and the poverty too.”
Clarice shook her head. “Look, from what Simon tells me focus users have spells for everything. Don’t you have one that can show, I don’t know, degrees of consanguinity?”
“There are several such spell, some medical in nature, others used by the Ministry to prevent inbreeding,” Severus acknowledged. “I suppose you will not let this rest until you are convinced?” he sighed wearily.
Simon and Clarice nodded. “Very well. Humpy!”
Another house elf appeared. “Kindly ask Madam Pomfrey to join us, would you?” Severus asked the elf. It bowed and disappeared.
Miffy appeared with the tea. Clarice asked questions about potions which Severus answered with only limited eye rolling at her ignorance.
A few minutes later Madam Pomfrey entered. “Severus? You asked for me?”
“Ah, Madam Pomfrey. Yes. These two people are absolutely convinced that we are closely related. Kindly disabuse them of that notion,” Severus declared urbanely.
Madam Pomfrey looked from Simon to Severus and back. “They may have a point, you know.”
Severus shook his head. “Not you, too!”
Poppy shrugged. “Well, it is a remarkable similarity. Now, hold still, this may tickle.” She took out her wand and one of Severus’ parchments from the desk he always used, at which he glared, then grabbed each of their thumbs and pricked them, getting a single drop of blood and letting them fall on the parchment. A wave of the wand and a whispered word cured the small wounds, drawing a frown from Simon and then she took a deep breath weaving her wand in a complicated helix. “Revelatio Familias!” she intoned.
Snape gestured at the parchment. “There, see? No result. Can we leave now?”
Poppy coughed. “Severus the spell takes a minute or so in some cases-” There was a flash of light and then the blood turned into lines and names. Simon Coenraad Hendrick Meier XIV and Elisabeth Alice van Rensselaer, Simon Coenraad Hendrick Meier XIV and Philippa Cecilia Johnson, Simon Coenraad Hendrick Meier XIV and Eileen Ambrosia Prince.
Severus looked at the lines. His eyes widened marginally, his nostrils flared. He looked up, slightly dazed look in his eyes. “Well fuck.”
BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS
Severus Snape was looking rather stunned as he sat in a chair in the great hall. Most of the faculty and the Wizarding guests were also looking rather surprised. His new family seemed to be taking it fairly well in stride.
“Uncle Severus!” Dawn grabbed his hand. “Xander said you use owls to send messages and that lots of people have owls, do you have an owl?”
Snape shook himself. “What did you call me?” he glared at her and the girl paled slightly, her chin trembling.
Then Dawn’s chin firmed and she met his gaze. “I called you Uncle Severus. Because you are Papa’s younger brother, and he’s going to be my step father and that makes you my sorta uncle. And Aunt Clarice’s younger brother too, so you’re sorta my uncle from both sides. I can call you Uncle Sorta if you prefer?”
Minerva stifled a rare giggle and Molly and Madam Pomfrey a laugh. Severus blinked twice. “Uncle Severus will do,” he answered heavily.
“Okay! Now do you have an owl or not?” Dawn asked.
Severus glared at her again. There were a number of coughs from around the table as the celebrated Snape glare seemed to run off the girl without any effect. She rolled her eyes. “Puh-lease! Mom’s glare is way better than yours. And you don’t threaten toothbrushes and toilet bowls,” Dawn scoffed.
Snape looked at his half brother and future sister in law with a certain amount of respect. “Really. Do they have really dirty cauldrons with all sorts of slime and strange, gooey materials and rotten seaweed in a dungeon full of rat droppings and skittering cockroaches?” he asked Dawn.
Dawn’s eyes widened marginally. “Rats? C-cockroaches?”
“Hmm, I usually give my pupils a wire brush while they are in detention, but a toothbrush… what a novel idea. Do you have to use it afterwards?” Snape’s eyes did not move from Dawn’s.
Dawn gulped and looked at Joyce. “M-mom? Is Uncle Severus joking?”
“No, he isn’t!” Fred supplied cheerfully. “It’s a ‘orrible cold and wet and smelly dungeon full of rats and cockroaches and toads and he makes us clean it with a brush at least once a week. Oh, and there’s frogs and ghosts too!”
Willow let out a gasp at the word ‘frogs’ and Dawn started to whimper and sniffle. Snape very slowly turned around and his gaze fastened on Fred as his hand comfortingly patted Dawn’s shoulder. “Weasley?” he said mildly, “You’re upsetting my niece.”
Fred gulped. “Sorry, sir.”
Dawn still looked frightened. Severus pinched the bridge of his nose and then held up an arm. “Aud!” A huge black Eagle Owl swept in, making several circles before preparing to land on his arm. “That is Aud. My owl. I do own one as you can see. I’ve had her for a number of years.”
Dawn gasped as the great owl swept its wings and landed. “She’s beautiful!”
The great yellow eyes alighted on the girl. Dawn very carefully extended a finger and rubbed it over Aud’s black, feathery chest. “You’re soft too, like a little black Cheila!”
Severus lifted an eyebrow. “You know about Cheila?”
Dawn nodded vigorously. “Oh yes! Willow is dating one!”
Numerous eyes fastened on Willow, who cringed. Severus merely nodded. “Yes, well, feathers and scales are along the same evolutionary path, you see. Cheila have both.”
“You don’t mind Willow dating a Cheila?” Dawn asked, still petting the bird.
“Why would I? Cheila are highly monogamous, very loyal and only dangerous when one threatens their children. And though I have never met one, if Willow is dating one I doubt that they are really as stupid as the books make them out to be,” he smirked in Willow’s direction. Willow, highly daring, stuck out her tongue.
Harry sat looking at the scene in amazement. “He-he’s joking with her? With them? Teasing?” he whispered at Hermione. “He’s a git!”
Hermione shook her head slowly. “Harry… you found out that Mr. and Mrs. Weasley are your cousins. That you have family. That’s important to you. Now imagine you didn’t have that, and lived feeling alone, for twenty-five more years…”
Harry swallowed. “Oh.” He was silent for a while. “’S a nice owl.” He paused for a moment. “Though Hedwig is nicer.”
BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS Hogwarts Grounds
Kit and Luna were well bundled up and exploring the magical area around Hogwarts. To Kit they were magical in all ways.
“So there’s a giant Squid in the lake? Cool!” Kit looked out over the snow covered expanse of the frozen lake. “Can we see it?”
“Not with all this ice in the way,” Luna explained. “Daddy thinks… thought that there’s a secret underwater tunnel connecting this Lake with all sorts of Scottish Lochs.”
“Oh. That’s a pity,” Kit looked around. “Are there any other magical creatures around? Dad said there were unicorns and all sorts of stuff…”
Luna pointed at the Forbidden Forest. “They’re mostly in there. We’re not allowed to go there, it’s dangerous. But I can show you my magical broom if you want…”
Kit’s eyes widened. “A flying broom? Cool!”
Luna grinned a little. Then she put her fingers in her mouth and whistled. “ARGENT!”
A few minutes later a white handled, silver bristled broom covered in ribbons and nosegays and dried flowers flew up, circled Luna and then prodded her on her butt. “ARGENT!” Luna whirled round. “Bad broom! Bad!”
Kit giggled. “Oh wow! She understands you?”
Luna sniffed. “A little too well, sometimes. Annoying pesky thing. Come on, she can hold two. Then we can see if you can ride her alone.”
Kit sobered. “Dad says I pro’lly never will be able to tap into my magic…”
Luna sniffed. “That is defeatist thinking! Ivor Soborbutsky would never have discovered the Irradiant Heffalump if he’d thought like that!! You will access and learn to control your magic!”
Kit nodded, doubtfully. “If you say so. How do we do this?”
“I sit nearest the bristles and you sit in front of me,” Luna explained as she mounted the broom. “Don’t worry, we’ll be fine!”
Kit mounted and - imitating Luna - grasped the handle firmly. The broom shivered and flew up, and up, and up. Kit squealed with laughter.
BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS Great Hall
“Severus seemed rather quick to accept his new nephew and nieces as well as the concept of having a family,” Minerva posited as she sipped her tea, watching where Severus, a rather stunned expression on his face was explaining the basics of potioneering to an enthusiastic Dawn and Willow and a grumpy looking Buffy and Evy.
Clarice, sipping her own, sighed. “Ah, that might be Joyce. She has that affect on people.”
Minerva blinked. “What sort of affect? Is she using a form of mind control?” she glared at the blonde who was speaking with Molly Weasley.
“No, or at least I don’t think so. It’s complicated,” Clarice sighed. “What do you know about Spirit talents?”
Minerva sniffed. “I know it made a lot of people feel superior.”
Clarice’s eyes narrowed. “It might be wise for me to point out that I am House Warren.”
Minerva looked like she’d sucked a lemon. “Oh. Them.”
Clarice looked rather surprised. “You don’t like House Warren?”
“House McGonagall and House Warren… do not get along. My mother was once told that if she lay dying in the gutter she should not expect help from Gervasia Warren,” Minerva replied. “House Warren – that is in our world – died out and I admit I was not sad to hear it.” Then her face tightened. “Not that there is much left of House McGonagall.”
Clarice smiled tightly. “That would cause bad blood, yes.” Suddenly her eyes narrowed. “Amelia Morgana Madison! What do you think you are doing?”
Amy, who had been conversing with the twins and Xander, cringed. A small brown paper packet fell to the ground and made a noise like a nose being blown and then a huge, flatulent wet fart.
Minerva grinned as Joyce and Molly headed for the foursome. “Your daughter?”
Clarice shook her head. “It’s complicated. Step-daughter, hopefully, soon. She calls me Mom,” she added with quiet pride.
“She has a traditional name…” Minerva queried.
Clarice grinned. “Oh, that’s not her full name. Her full name is Amelia Morgana Agrippina Apolonia Circe Minerva Madison…” her voice trailed off as she took in Minerva’s expression. “Something wrong?”
“Y-you want to be her stepmother?” Minerva shook her head. “Miss Madison! Would you come over here for a moment?”
Amy rather hesitantly approached. “Yes? It was just a few jokes, Mom. Xander and I really weren’t going to do anything to any of you.”
“Just Principal Snyder?” Clarice asked sternly. “Not going to happen, young lady. I guess the paths will be really well swept tomorrow…”
Amy winced. Minerva chuckled. “Good to see some standards of parenting. Now, Miss Madison, do you know if any members of your family had the name McGonagall?”
Amy shrugged. “My mother was called that…” her eyes widened. “Oh my God! You’re one too, aren’t you?” she stumbled backwards. “STAY OUT OF MY MIND! YOU’RE NOT GETTING MY BODY, YOU OLD BITCH!” she threw out her hands and Minerva flew through the air, shock on her face.
BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS Dumbledore’s study
Simon sat in one of the chairs facing the fire looking aloof and sardonic. Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge and his assistants Bartemious Crouch of the Department of International Magical Cooperation and Amelia Bones of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement were sitting on one side of the fire, Albus Dumbledore, Lucius Malfoy and Arthur Weasley on the other.
“I cannot judge and be done with it, Minister. I need to see, possibly touch and smell and experience, in other words, thoroughly examine, these Dementors,” Simon said coolly, responding to an earlier remark by Fudge. “You say they are safe, these gentlemen say they are not. Before any children are endangered, I wish to be certain.”
“We can fully control them!” Fudge argued. “An Auror with a strong enough will, as all Aurors have, and the appropriate amulet, can control them with ease!”
“And if an Auror with an Amulet is not near? Or if they disobey the orders given?” Lucius drawled. “I fear I have little faith in the Ministry’s ability to control Dementors, considering that the creatures have escaped it several times already. I have no more desire to lose my son and heir than I am sure Madam Bones has of losing her niece.”
Bones glared at the man. “I have to take account of the safety of all of Wizarding Britain!”
“You’re doing a stellar job of it then, aren’t you?” Lucius sneered. “How long has Black been running? And how many attacks has he made? Any more of your model of safety and we’ll either have to close Hogwarts or put Potter in Azkaban to keep him safe!”
Simon cleared his throat. “Tomorrow I will start my analysis of the Dementors and begin forming my opinion. I will also need to meet with at least seven Aurors who have been charged with controlling Dementors and an expert on the creatures.”
“There are no experts. The last true expert was Xenophilius Lovegood,” Albus explained softly. “Though few would consider him one, he was exceptionally well informed about them. He had been seeking a way to destroy them for decades.”
Fudge winced. Simon nodded. “Ah, he was the victim who was ‘Kissed’ yes? I must admit from that description I can only think that these creatures are Hirudi Animi, a most loathsome and dangerous creature. Only an idiot or a madman would consider them
as guards for anything, of course,” he added mildly. “Now as we seem to be at an impasse, I will adjourn this meeting. I thank you for your views. Chief Warlock?”
Albus rose, a trifle stiffly. “Yes, of course. Do you wish to use this Floo, Minister?”
BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS The Infirmary
“I’m really very, very sorry,” Amy wrung her hands contritely. “It was- I just panicked!”
Minerva, lying in the bed with a cold compress on her forehead and a bump the size of a pigeon’s egg on the back of her head, smiled a little. “I understand my dear. Considering what you went through, the last thing you needed was to have a family member suddenly thrusting herself upon you.”
Amy shuddered. “You look a bit like her. Uncle Simon told me that my biological mother, or at any rate Catherine, put up sufficient of a struggle to keep Pulchritudia from controlling her completely, but it’s very difficult for me to separate the two.”
Minerva reached out and stilled the dry-washing hands. “Amy… It’s all right. You were frightened and struck out with your magic in your fear. There is nothing wrong with me that a good night’s rest, Poppy’s ministrations and your Uncle Severus’ potions can’t put right. Which reminds me… your mother, Lady Clarice, very deftly distracted me from how Severus seems so accepting of having family…”
Amy bit her lip. “Okay, you can’t tell anyone I told you this and if you use it against her, I’ll… I don’t know what I’ll do but it won’t be pretty okay? Pulchritudia left a heap of very nasty tomes!” *And Uncle Simon made sure they were all destroyed or safely stored, but no need for you to know that.*
Minerva nodded. “I promise, as long as it’s not something truly dangerous.”
“Aunt Joyce is a Mother Witch. And she’s a Warren, so she’s got lots of power. And Uncle Severus is, well, I heard Aunt Joyce say Uncle Simon told her he’s got shields even tougher than he, that’s Uncle Simon, does but with really odd gaps in them. And I think Aunt Joyce’s power is getting in through those. But she’s not doing anything that could hurt him.”
Minerva’s eyes widened. “A Warren Mother witch… Well, that explains a lot.”
“Doesn’t it just?” Clarice’s dry voice came from the doorway and Amy winced. “Spilling other people’s secrets, Amy?”
Amy gave her a pleading look. “I needed to make up, okay?”
Clarice shook her head. “It’s not a great problem, Amy, I was going to tell your… Aunt? Cousin? What relation are you to Amy?”
“Great-Aunt. My sister was unhappy in our world and left, though now I fear she might have been possessed by Pulchritudia,” Minerva replied sadly.
“Well, anyway, Joyce asked me to tell you, she said that you obviously care about him,” Clarice sat down by the bed. “Amy? Go find Celia and Buffy, Hermione is going to give all of you a tour.”
Amy hesitated and then saw the flinty look in Clarice’s eye, swallowed and left.
Clarice leaned towards Minerva. “Now, I’m a trained forensic psychologist and I was wondering…” She leaned so close her face was almost up against Minerva’s “There is only one of these magical schools in Britain right? And Severus went here? Did you teach him?”
Minerva nodded. A psychologist was a Mugg- Normal Mind-healer of some sort. She was very afraid she knew where this line of questioning was going.
“Then perhaps you can tell me why my little brother shows all the classic signs of severe physical and psychological abuse and neglect?” Clarice asked in a curiously detached tone of voice.
Minerva hesitated. “I think it might be best if Severus told you that himself.”
“I see. So you don’t know? You weren’t aware of what was happening to him?” Clarice’s eyes fastened on Minerva’s and the clear blue eyes were curious and dangerous.
Minerva sighed. “We… We weren’t vigilant enough. Severus was a… difficult child.”
“Difficult. I see. Did he bully other children? Speak up in class? Cause disruptions?” Clarice enquired her voice still neutral.
Minerva closed her eyes. “No. He was silent, withdrawn, and secretive. He was already deeply interested in the darker side of magic.”
“I see. Yet he teaches here…?” Clarice let her voice drop in a question.
Minerva suppressed a groan. *This woman would have made a magnificent Witchhunter General.*
“We realized that being interested in the Dark Arts does not necessarily make a person evil,” she admitted.
“Ah,” Clarice nodded her understanding. “But it was too little, too late? Does he have any friends?”
“He doesn’t allow anyone to get really close. I think the Malfoys are his only friends,” Minerva answered.
“So. You’ve been his colleagues for how long? Ten years? More? And he still doesn’t trust you enough to be friends with you?” Clarice nodded to herself as she digested that information, gazing coolly at the older woman.
Minerva swallowed. *I wonder what her Spirit Power is? What were the main powers of the Warren line again? I do hope she doesn’t have Combustion… What lineage could shoot fire from their eyes again?*
BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS Great Hall
They sat sipping tea by a small brazier set under a Slytherin decorated tree. Jon Carnahan studied the man opposite him. As they had seated themselves he had moved his wand and muttered words and now, according to him, no one in the Great Hall could hear what they were saying. It was a nicely paranoid way of thinking.
Jon put his cup on his saucer and looked at the younger man opposite him, taking in the long fingered hands and the hunched posture. The slight unevenness about the jaw and chin, the yellowed and crooked teeth, the crooked, oft-broken nose, the slightly canted eye where the socket had been broken, the forward thrust of the head indicative of badly set and healed clavicles. The deadly pallor and the clammy look of his skin that indicated, to Jon’s experienced mind, some sort of addiction. And most importantly the aura of anger and anguish that hung about him like a cloak. So much like his elder brother. He smiled slightly at Snape and spoke. “I need to see, study a Dementor. As closely as possible. I understand you don’t want to accompany Simon tomorrow? I need you to be there as well.”
“You want to study a Dementor up close?” Severus looked at Jon as if he was insane. “And why would I help you?”
“One of them got near Draco Malfoy, that’s what the briefing stated at any rate. And from the way you spoke with and to him, you care for him,” Jon shrugged. “You share a lot of body language with your brother. He’s loosened up a lot the last few months, but for those of us who remember him like he was? You two are much the same.”
Snape blinked. He pinched the bridge of his nose.
Jon smiled. “Simon and Clarice do that too.”
Snape glared at the older man. “You enjoy this, don’t you? Manipulating people?”
Jon leaned back and closed his eyes. “Not really. I just need your help. I have a bad feeling about those things.”
Snape nodded. “I see. Then perhaps, a trade?”
Jon opened his eyes. “What sort of trade?”
Severus took leaned back in his chair by the fire. “I want to know who is influencing my mind and especially how. I thought my Occlumency shields were protecting me. I need those shields. My life may depend on them fairly soon.”
“And if I refuse?” Jon smiled.
“I will kill you, and every other member of the Ambassador's retinue.” Snape's face was unemotional as he said it.
“And our little dog too?” Jon snorted. “You'd be dead before you could draw your wand. Simon and Clarice may want to treat you like a brother, love you like one but if you threaten their families? You won't live long enough to call out Avada Kedavra. And if you continue your threats, I will kill you myself.”
Snape eyed the old man who sat placidly by the brazier and nodded once. “I see. So you refuse to tell me?”
Jon sighed. “Professor Snape… Are you happy?”
“What? What are you talking about, man? What has that got to do with it?” Snape bristled.
Jon raised a hand. “I will explain, and answer your question too. My own shields are practically non-existent. Simon’s are very strong for some reason. It is his only real magical talent. Clarice shares the talent as well, and has far more power than Simon. Yet all three of you have been brought low by the same person.”
Snape’s eyes narrowed. “Who?”
“Joyce. It’s a talent of hers. It’s not something she does consciously you know. And if your life depends on the shields, I doubt you will need to change your regimen and method of shielding,” Jon replied calmly sipping his tea. “You know, this would be ever so much better with just a dash of whisky?”
Snape glared over to the corner where Joyce was speaking with Molly and Narcissa. “What talent? How does she do it?”
“Not quite clear on the how, actually. Tell me, Professor, are you loved?” Jon sipped again, grimaced, reached into a pocket and withdrew a flask, pouring a fair measure into his tea. He extended the bottle to the spluttering Severus. “Care for a drop?”
“What in Merlin’s name are you talking about?” Severus grated out.
“Ah. I take it that is a no then. Joyce is a Mother. She loves Simon very much. She loves Clarice, her half sister. She wants both of them to be happy. You are their half-sibling, having you happy makes them happy. You look like Simon, albeit it a Simon who's been through even more wars than him. He's been very lucky most of his wounds left scars where they cannot be seen. All those are reasons for her to put her talent at work on your behalf.”
Snape took two sips of tea. “A Mother? A Mother Witch? The Spirit Talent?”
“Yes. A Mother Witch of a Great Spirit line. House Warren, to be precise,” Jon confirmed.
“That does not explain how she penetrates my shields!” Snape snapped.
Jon nodded. “I'm not a great expert, though I've been training my Great-granddaughter. Most people are able to create shields that are able to defend them from one or more types of attack. Layered shields, delusions, diversions, you name it. The most powerful shields incorporate all these forms of defense.”
“That is elementary Occlumency, get on with it,” Snape growled.
“Have you ever heard of Pulchritudia Black?” Jon sipped, looking at Snape's face.
“Of course, I'm not stupid,” it was clear Snape was losing his temper.
“Even when people knew what she was and what she was doing, many still succumbed to her power, is that not true?” Jon asked.
“What is this, History of Magic?” Snape tapped his wand. “I don't need a history lesson!”
“She did that by appealing to a deep seated need within most people, the need to be loved, appreciated, and accepted. She made people feel like they were her children, like each and every one of them was important. Only when her armies became too numerous did she start to fail. Even then there were those who would never have contemplated betraying her,” Jon continued. “Now imagine a Mother who does not want to control but just to love?”
Snape opened his mouth to make a scathing reply. Then he looked thoughtful. “Molly Weasley is a Mother. Why would I not react this way to her?”
“Did you get along with your parents? Do you have siblings? Many close friends?”
Severus looked uncertain. Jon smiled. “You have a difficult relationship with your colleagues; I understand that most of them were your teachers here. And none of them noticed you or helped you… No matter what happened to you or who hurt you.”
Snape, impossibly, paled even more. “How do you know these things?”
Jon shrugged. “I’ve known Simon for well over thirty years. I’ve got lots of experience at reading the signs.”
Snape very carefully sipped his tea. “What does this have to do with my shields failing?”
“They haven’t failed. You have shields up against people who want to do you harm. You have none against those who want to love you and, for a lack of a better word, cosset you,” Jon lifted his cup and studied the fall off light through the porcelain. “They want nothing from you but what you are willing to give.”
Severus blinked. And again. “What? What kind of ridiculous nons-”
“UNCLE SEV!! They’re gonna play this game called Quidditch and we don’t know it and we need you to explain the rules ‘cause I don’t trust those twins to tell the truth!” Willow and Dawn burst through the spell bubble and Snape gawked.
“Tell us about Quidditch! C’mon Uncle Sev! Please?!” Dawn grabbed his hand and started dragging at it.
Jon coughed. “Well, ‘nothing you don’t want to give’ might have been a slight exaggeration…” End Note: I know that Carlton House Terrace, Home of the Royal Society lies closer to the front than the rear entrance of the BritishMuseum. Sam just likes to walk, okay? ;-) The Walbrook is one of the lost rivers of London, it supposedly runs under Cannon street.