Disclaimer: They all belong to Crack-Head Joss and ME. Deal with it. I have.
Category: A short Harry Potter, non-Buffy crossover, story.
Time Frame: Set in the summer prior to "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"
Spoilers: None intended, but if you don’t know what happened up to this point, why are you reading this story?
Character Bashing: None. Although this does have my usual measure of Snape and Dumbledore contempt.
Feedback: Of course!
Archiving: Talk to me first, please.
Author’s Note 1: Many thanks to Bill Haden and Theo (Starway_Man) for beta-ing this story.
Author’s Note 2: Not any sort of major storyline – more of a minor plot bunny which struck my muse's fancy, and which she wanted me to scribble down, before I could get her to focus on anything else.
Twelve Grimmauld Place
August 2, 1995
"Well, Harry, what exactly is this revelation that you've said you, Miss Granger and Mr. And Miss Weasley have discovered that you believe will allow you to defeat the evil that is Voldemort?" Albus Dumbledore, ostensible leader of the Wizarding World's forces of the Light, inquired in a genial-sounding voice, his eyes twinkling brightly behind the spectacles he characteristically wore in his role as the venerable headmaster of Hogwarts.
Everyone in the room discovered that you could actually hear a sneer when Severus Snape spoke up to throw in his two knuts' worth of commentary.
"Personally, I find the very idea that a group of students – two of whom are scarcely intelligent or competent enough to pass their classes – have found a method of dealing with the Dark Lord which has somehow eluded the rest of the Wizarding World for the past two decades, to be inconceivable," the Potions 'teacher' at the school declared as he directed a contemptuous glare at the group of teens calmly seated at the far end of the table.
"Well, I'm sure we'd all be delighted to hear anything you might have an opinion on – if anyone actually cared enough to listen, that is," Ron commented casually in a voice pitched just loud enough to be heard above the murmur of conversation filling the room.
"What did you just say, Weasely?!" the greasy-haired potions master angrily screeched, a mixed expression of astonishment and outrage on Severus' sallow face.
"Y'see, I told you guys – Snape's at least partially deaf as well as half-blind," Ron announced with a pleased expression as he turned in the overstuffed chair he was sprawled to look at his friends who were, along with his sister, occupying the somewhat worn-looking sofa that filled the far wall of the salon.
"Ronald Bilius Weasley!" Molly's indignant reprimand filled the air, along with a string of barely muffled snorts and laughter from most of the other occupants of the room.
"What, mum?" the gangly male redhead asked innocently.
The expression of complete and utterly *fake* innocence evident on the redheaded teen's face as he turned to look at his mother was entirely out of place on her sibling's features, Ginny decided, the moment she saw it. She also instantly decided she needed Ron to teach her to duplicate it at the earliest opportunity
"Hermione, Harry and I have been trying to figure out exactly what the reasons must be for why Snape never seems to see any of the dirty tricks or hear any of the insults his Snakes make in class," Ginny heard Ron continue his protestations, and she forced herself to not break out into applause.
"Most of the Gryffindor upper classes say it's just because he's an arrogant incompetent wanker who acts like he's still twelve years old, but after the three of us discussed it, we decided it's probably because he just can't properly see or hear anything the Snakes do," Ron said with a completely straight face.
"After all, any competent teacher who wasn't partially deaf as well as half-blind wouldn't allow students from one House to get away with throwing things in the cauldrons of students from the other three Houses, right?" Ron asked, ignoring both Sirius' and Remus' badly-concealed laughter and Snape's near-apoplexy.
"That does it, Weasley – you're going to be in detention for the entire year, once classes resume again after the summer. You and your two misbegotten friends –" Snape declared as he stared venomously in the direction of all four teens, including Ginny by association, even if Ron hadn’t mentioned his little sister at all.
"I'm sorry, 'Professor' Snape," Hermione interrupted the greasy git, as Sirius and Remus referred to him – the sarcasm in her voice while using the term obvious to everyone present, "but Professor McGonagall informed us at the end of term last year that she was assigning all three of us detentions for the full year for neglecting to properly clean up the Gryffindor tower common room before we left school last year. Ginny, too, come to think of it.
"I'm sure if you speak to her, she'll do her best to try and integrate whatever detentions you wish to assign into the ones she's already allocated to us," Hermione suggested with the faintest hint of a smile on her face.
"Isn't that correct, Professor?" the bushy-haired witch asked as she turned to address their Head of House.
"Send me a list of the detentions you think are appropriate, Severus, and I'll see if I can work them into the ones I've already got lined up for the children," McGonagall said, as she gave the potions instructor an unfriendly glare, making it clear there was no love lost between those two.
"If we can possibly get back to the original topic of discussion," Dumbledore broke into the incipient hostilities, before any further antagonisms could be unleashed, "I am most interested in learning exactly what inspiration the students have come up with, which would lead Harry to believe would enable him to defeat Voldemort."
"It's actually quite simple, sir," Harry replied with a smile. "While we were all reading through some of the books in the Black library this past week, I found a ritual which would allow a witch or wizard to transfer all of their knowledge, skills and magical power to another witch or wizard.
"According to the notes accompanying the spell's description, it was typically used by the caster when on their deathbed, to transfer all of theirs knowledge, skills and magical power to their apprentice, so that all of that knowledge wouldn't be lost," Harry eagerly described the parameters of his discovery.
"And the best part about it," he declared with a wide smile, "is that it's not any sort of Dark Magic at all, since the caster must initiate the ritual completely voluntarily and of their own free will.
"You see, the person performing the spell can't be forced to undertake the ritual in any manner, since any sort of compulsion or duress that might be laid on the caster negates the intent of the spell entirely," the Boy-Who-Lived explained to his dumbstruck audience.
"Once we perform this spell, Headmaster, you can transfer all of your decades of experience, skill, knowledge and all of your magical power to me," Harry proposed as he stared at the Chief Warlock of British Wizengamot.
"After we've done that, then I can publicly challenge Voldemort to a formal wizard's duel on the front page of the Daily Prophet, and since he won't be expecting me to have anywhere near the skills or spell knowledge that you do, I should be able to defeat him quite easily," Harry explained enthusiastically.
"Don't you think that that's a great idea, sir?" Harry asked enthusiastically, as he finished his proposal.
“Well, I...just a moment. Is the ritual reversible?” Albus suddenly got a bad feeling about this.
“No, Headmaster. As a deathbed farewell gift, there was never any need for it to be,” Hermione answered this time.
“Still, why would that be an issue?” Harry appeared to have a confused look on his face.
"Well, if this ritual works the way you say it does, Harry, then after this transfer you’ve suggested takes place, I...I would be left as nothing more than a squib," Dumbledore stated after a moment of silence, the expression of extreme horror on his face as he spoke matched by most of the other Order members in the room.
"Well, yes, that's true," Harry nodded his agreement with the Headmaster's statement, "but it would allow me to defeat Voldemort once and for all, and completely negate any future threat he could ever pose to the Wizarding World."
"But – but, I would be a *squib*!" Dumbledore reiterated. "I would lose all of my magic, forever!"
"Yes, sir, but the Wizarding World would finally be safe once and for all," Harry reminded his ostensible mentor and their listening audience.
"I’m certain the history books would immortalize you as the wizard who made the supreme sacrifice for all of the generations of witches and wizards who will follow us," the Boy-Who-Lived pointed out. “You’ll be remembered as the man who finally defeated the one enemy even worse than Grindelwald --”
"But I would lose all of my magic!" Dumbledore repeated himself in a horrified voice that, this time, was much louder in both volume and force.
"Well, uh, I have to say, that's a rather selfish attitude Headmaster. Wouldn't you agree, people?" Harry asked, turning to look at the gathered members of the Order of the Phoenix who were all staring at the pair with rapt attention.
"After all," the so-called Chosen one stated, while staring intently at the man who'd orchestrated the entirety of his life up to this point in time, "isn't the Headmaster the one who's always advocated doing what's right over what's easy?
"And wouldn't this promote the Greater Good of the Wizarding World?"
Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore was trapped, and he knew it. If he refused to play ball, as the colonials called it, he would lose face – as well as the respect and loyalty of his people. But on the other hand, to accept and undergo this damned spell the boy had found – that was *not* an option.
He had been the Supreme Mugwump for years! And this sort of sacrifice was *not* part of the job description! As far as Albus was concerned, his job was to be the guiding influence to make *Harry* perform the ultimate sacrifice for the good of the Wizarding World!
Ah, the sacrifices one must make for the sake of the greater good...especially when the only two choices you have truly *suck*.